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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Around the world with Moviestorm

We’re finally catching up with the recent mod releases. This selection has an assortment of miscellaneous mods, with no particular theme.

The usual reminder: we don’t support mods. That’s between you and the modder.


Creator: Shirley Martin
Cost: $5.99
Contents:  28 Props Included: 8 Buildings (Nighttime Variations for Skyscrapers), Dresser, 2 Fences, 2 Garden Features, 2 Gates, 4 Interior Rooms, Screen/Room Divider, 2 Seats, 3 Stands, Table, 2 Wallhangings. Most props have 4-6 variations and are customizable. Bonus Wall, Floor, and Ceiling Texures included.
Get it from: Mods’n'More

When this was released last month, Shirley had no idea how topical this was going to be. It gives you what you need to create modern Japanese cities.


Creator: Shirley Martin
Cost: $4.99
Contents:  20 Props in all. Includes 8 Buildings; 5 Skyscrapers with Night Time Variations, a Clock Tower, and 2 Historical Buildings. 3 Rooms; all have tintable walls and one has 3 variations. 9 Furnishings including: 1 Chair with 6 variations, 1 tintable Chair, Coffee Table with 2 variations, Dresser, Night Stand, Stand/Side Table with 3 variations, Table with 3 variations, Trunk, and Waste Basket
Get it from: Mods’n'More

The second pack featuring countries from around the world. This covers modern Germany, and is suitable for interior and exterior locations.


Creator: Lucinda McNary
Cost: FREE
Contents: animated flying dove
Get it from: Lucinda

The dove is scalable and mobile and has four animations, glide, fast flying, slow flying and moderate flying. The body, wings and head are tintable and will use a photograph. The beak and legs also will use a photograph and are tintable.


Creator: Kate Fosk
Cost: FREE
Contents:  Three stone, and three brick wall textures, all with normal maps
Get it from: Kate

These wall textures can also be used on floors, or ceilings if you feel so inclined.

Medieval Furniture

Creator: Shirley Martin
Cost: $3.99
Contents: 31 Props: Mead Barrel, Banner with 5 styles, 3 Baskets, Bathtub, Bench, Bowl, 2 Chairs (chair 02 has 5 styles), Cookpot, Couldron, Cup, Firepit, Floor Torch, 2 Mugs (1 Full and 1 Empty), 2 Plates, Podeum, Round Table with 10 styles, 3 Shelves, 2 Stands, Stone Cross, Stool, Table, Tapestry with 7 styles, Trunk, Well/Pool.
Get it from: Mods’n'more

The Medieval collection continues to expand: added to what’s already available from Mods’nMore and what’s on Moddingstorm, this gives you all you need to create medieval movies.

And finally, here’s a fantastic deal from Mods’n'More - all their Moviestorm mods in one pack for $50 - over 30% off the cost of buying them individually. This bundle includes:  Japan, Germany, Castles 01, Medieval Furniture, Medieval Corridors, Medieval Interiors, Medieval Suburbs, Old World Village, Viking Village, Courtroom, Grocery Store Interior, Modern Bank Interior, Shops Vol. 1, Antique Furniture, Victorian Apartments, Victorian Bedroom, Victorian Business, Victorian Chimneys, Victorian City Buildings, Victorian Held Set 01, Victorian Rooms, Victorian Slums, Victorian Towers, Victorian Workhouses, WWI Artilery, WWI Buildings, Old West Church, Old West Exteriors 01, Old West Saloon, Old West Schoolhouse, Old West Sheriff, and Old West Undertaker.

(1) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Friday, March 18, 2011

More mods - sci-fi special

In this second part of our mod roundup, we bring you a look at the latest sci-fi mods.

As always, please note that we don’t support mods. That’s entirely between you and the modder.

Before we get to the actual mods, we’d like to point you at the Mods’n'more portal created by Shirley Martin (squirrelygirl). She’s listed a huge collection of Moviestorm mods from around the web - not just the ones on her own site. This is a fantastic resource - many thanks to Shirley for creating it!

Sci-fi construction set

Creator: Zordork (Andy Price)
Cost: £4.99
Contents:  over 30 props thar can be customised to create sci-fi environments
Get it from: Machinimamania

This pack is ideal for creating a variety of sci-fi exteriors, particularly planetary bases, space stations, and remote outposts.

Star Trek style corridors

Creator: 3dTree
Cost: FREE
Contents:  three different corridor sections
Get it from: Rapidshare

For your interior sets, this pack gives you easily customizable props that can be snapped together to create different combinations.

Terran Fleet

Creator: Zordork (Andy Price)
Cost: £4.99
Contents:  2 fighters, 1 battlecrusier, 1 laden freighter, 1 unladen freighter, a space station and a flight deck.
Get it from: Machinimamania

Spaceships. Who doesn’t like spaceships? These are tintable, scalable and mobile, so you can create distinctive fleets.

ShawnGee’s Sci-Fi Props

Creator: Shawn Gee
Cost: $2.00
Contents:  8 Bridge Station Variations, Bulkhead Blast Door, Centre Command Table, 2 Consoles, Docking Tube, Long Meeting Table, Room Door, Star Box, Starship Runway, Tactical Station, View Screen.
Get it from: Mods’n'more

We’ve mentioned this pack before, but we figured we’d include it with this collection. Added to the other mods and the official Moviestorm Sci-Fi pack, it gives you plenty to work with!

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Castles, Cthulhu and computers

We haven’t done a mod roundup for ages, and there have been a quite extraordinary number in the last few weeks. So we’ve decided to split this into two (or more) posts. In this first post, we’re just going to look at what’s come from Chris Ollis’s Moddingstorm.

As always, please note that we don’t support mods. That’s entirely between you and the modder.

Medieval collection

Medieval Females: (£10)
8 new morphable, tintable costumes giving you thin to fat maidens and wenches. There is also a matching Nun head covering to go with the costume.

Medieval Males: (£10)
8 new morphable, tintable costumes for fat, well fed landowners or starving and thin poor people. Each outfit also comes with clean and dirty texture variants.

Castle Builder: (£15)
Over 100 parts for building a castle to your own design. Easy to use, snap together wall sections and towers with 4 different stone textures, all with tintable options applied to every wall you shouldn’t have too much trouble matching the curtains. As well as walls, towers, roofs and turrests, the pack contains doorways, corridors, flags, wooden supports and a rope bridge.


Beards: (£10)
4 types of full beard, 3 styles of goatee, 3 sideburns and 2 mustaches. Combine them to get even more styles! All of them are morphable so they can be as long or short as you like. They work with all the other head morphs and facial decals.

Eye Motions: (£5)
27 subtle but hugely useful new animations for your actors eyes to give you control in the areas that are normally automated.

Head Gear 01 & 02: (£12.50 each or £20 for both)
The Head gear packs each contain 25 accessories for Male and Female actors, ranging from everyday glasses to comical paperbags.

Facewounds: (£10)
Add scars and scratches to your characters, most of which are positionable and tintable.As well as the more gory injuries the pack contains dirt and paint splats so you can make someone look like they climbed out from a chimney or dropped a tin of paint on their head.


Superheroes 01: (£12.50)
4 outfits with muscle morphs, multiple texture variants and dozens of animations for male and female characters to get them off the ground or stopping speeding trains.

Flatfolk: (£5)
FlatFolk are designed to allow the user to draw on their actor’s clothes in whatever style they choose. Perhaps a suit, or an astronaut’s outfit, or maybe an alien skin. Whatever you choose simply draw within the included guide image, save the file and then load the texture in through the usual “User Image” option in the Dressing Room. The same can be done for the actor’s face!


Blown about: (£15)
Knock your star to the ground in numerous ways, from a hit on the head to a blow to the gut, or for something a little more extreme, fire them off in to the distance like they’d been stood next to a crate of TNT.

Bound and gagged: (£5)
Have your actor’s hands tied in standing, sitting, kneeling and laying down poses.  14 animations for Male and Female actors and 2 mouth gagging accessories, perfect for all your hostage taking and prisoner holding movies. Plus free blindfold!

Jumps and Falls: (£10)
Tumble and flip animations to make your actors a little more gymnastic. Also included are some crazy ragdoll moves that throw your actor high up in to the air before crashing down to earth, and falls from buildings.


Horses 01: (£10)
Six horse variants, a basic horse, a unicorn and two saddled versions of each. Thee are 4 skin texture variants; brown, brown with white, black and white which is also set to tintable and user image. Create your own fur patterns and load them in. The horse works as a standalone prop or an interactive one. As well as several standing animations the horse can walk, trot, canter, gallop, jump and rear up, all with accompanying male or female rider animations.

Cthulhu: (£10)
Summon this Great Old One and unleash pure terror at your command. He slashes, he roars, he stomps, and he even rises high above the earth. He may appear to be nothing more than a statuette, but in his true form he can grow larger than your fragile mind can comprehend.

Computers 01: (£5)
A desktop PC, laptop and a handful of animations for your actors to interact with them.

Free stuff


Frankenstein-style stitches.

4 Colourroom:
A test for nav meshes and baked in set lighting. The whole set is one prop object. To have your actor walk around simply start by placing them somewhere in the set.

Ashtray, with rising smoke.

Bees and Flies:
Bee hive with circling bees (or none at all) and a circling ball of flies or bees that is set to be mobile and scalable, so you can have them sat over bins or chasing people!

Goldfish bowl:
A goldfish bowl with 4 variants, 1 fish, 2 fish, a dead fish (floating) and no fish.

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Five featured movies

It’s been about a month since we updated the featured movies properly, and in that time we’ve seen some fantastic work submitted to the site. 

Last week we showcased the five winners of John Herd’s Gestures contest, and now we’ve chosen five more excellent movies, covering comedy, sci-fi, horror, and music.  (If you’re interested, Kate Fosk posted something on the Pineapple Chunks blog about how we select the featured movies, extracted from a long conversation in the forums in the last couple of weeks.) We have quite a few longish movies this time, so if you want to watch them all, set aside at least an hour - longer if you want to catch up on earlier episodes of some of the series!

We’ve already written a piece about Iain Friar’s Trichophagia, so we won’t repeat that here. If you haven’t already seen it, do so.

Next, we have the next movie about bumbling Norman, by Si Stanisauskis (kv), Get A Job, Norman. This time, as you might guess from the title, he’s off to find a job so he can get his car back. It’s everything we’ve come to expect from this wonderful series - superb characterization, beautifully filmed, masterful use of sound and music, and plenty of laugh out loud moments. It’s also a perfect example of how to make things happen off-screen. We won’t spoil it for you, but we’ll just point out one thing that sums up what makes this series so good. When he gets fired from his first job, there’s a glorious moment where Norman pauses, and then walks away with as much dignity as he can muster. It’s that kind of touch that shows how much you can do with simple body language, even with the simplicity of machinima-styled animation. We’ve loved watching Norman develop from a simple test character into a magnificent comic creation, and we’re definitely looking forward to more.

The Tree of Life (Part 1), from kibishipaul, is a short music video he made last year but has only just submitted to Moviestorm. The use of cel shading is excellent, and the surreal camerawork perfectly matches the music, the soundtrack to The Passion of Saint Sebastian by Garrett Fisher. It’s very different to most of the music videos we see, both in the style of the music and the visual style. Once you’ve seen it, carry on and watch Part 2.

Star Wreck, Episode 4, continues this brilliant sci-fi comedy series. It’s been about 18 months since the last episode, so you may want to remind yourself of what’s happened so far. There’s a 15-minute catchup version of the first three episodes if you don’t want to spend an hour watching everything that’s come before, but we recommend taking the time to enjoy the whole series in all its glory. This new ep is nearly half an hour long, so sit back with a pile of snacks and make an evening of it. The sets are wonderfully detailed, including some well-designed mods, and the Cardassian characters in particular are nicely done.  It’s an ambitious project, and we hope we don’t have to wait so long for the next episode!  (Note: some of the dialog may not be appropriate for pre-teen viewers.)

Lastly, we picked BILLS, from newcomer Daisy Wendell. It’s a beautifully executed short character sketch about an old lady who gets a nasty surprise in the post. This one’s definitely in the “just because” category. This is only Daisy’s second film, and she’s done a great job creating the atmosphere with nice camera angles and good use of both sound effects and music. It’s a silent movie, and it shows how much you can portray without dialog and just using simple techniques. We’re definitely looking forward to seeing more from Daisy!

That’s only a small selection of what was on our short list this month. We’ll have some more featured movies for you soon - probably in a couple of weeks.

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Gesture competition - the winners

In January, John Herd (aka primaveranz), decided to set up a contest aimed at one specific area of Moviestorm: the use of gestures. Gestures are the single most powerful - and under-used - dramatic tool in Moviestorm. Used well, they transform simple animated models into interesting characters who can express emotions through their body language as well as their voice. They can be used to convey both plot and subtext that replaces, amplifies or contradicts the dialog.

Here’s some examples of what you can do with gestures, to give you an idea of what the judges were looking for.

  • Characters can communicate without words. This can be as simple as a nod or shake of the head, instead of saying yes or no. It can also be used to indicate taciturnity, menace or strength - rather than saying “this way,” a bodyguard or bouncer can just indicate with his thumb that the hero should go through a door. In some circumstances, characters may be unable to speak for fear of being overheard, and so they can use simple sign language instead. This adds to the visual part of the film instead of relying on spoken words to convey everything.
  • Gestures intensify emotion. Actors don’t just stand passively and speak their lines. They use their bodies to add feeling to what they’re saying. This can be huge, melodramatic arm movements or postures, but more often, they’re small motions that are barely noticeable unless you’re looking for them. Drooping the head slightly indicates sadness. Tipping the head to one side as they listen can indicate surprise, questioning, or skepticism. Small hand movements can indicate nervousness, excitedness. Changes in the way they stand can indicate nervousness, apprehension or fear. Hand movements can be used to emphasise key parts of what they’re saying.  Individually, the gestures are tiny, but when you put them together, you create a much more believable person, and that immediately engages your audience.
  • Gestures add depth to the meaning of the movie. One of the most important skills for an actor (and a director) is to be able to convey two or more completely different things at once. A character can say one thing, but we, the audience, know or suspect that he means something else. It could be an outright lie, or it could be an emotion they’re trying to hide. “I haven’t seen Cora in weeks,” says the suspect convincingly, but his shifty head movement leads us to suspect otherwise. “No, I’m fine,” says Amy, but her clenched fists reveal that she’s hurting inside.
  • You can imply things you can’t actually do in Moviestorm. The best Moviestorm directors keep finding ways to use gestures in wonderfully creative ways. Here, for example, writerly shows how to get a woman to put her head on her husband’s shoulder for a sweet, romantic moment.  (Go to the original forum post.)

There’s a great presentation of all the available Moviestorm gestures by Keith Lawrence. It actually takes nearly 20 minutes for a Moviestorm character to run through his repertoire, which gives you an idea of just how much they’re capable of. And this is only the start: when you start to combine and customize the gestures, you’ll find new and surprising ways to bring your animated actors to life. It can be a slow, painstaking process at times, but the results, as you’ll see below, are well worth it.

Anyway, without any further ado, these are the winners of the gestures competition.

Our congratulations to every one of them, and our huge thanks to John for arranging this superb and inspiring contest.

Winner “Audition for a Killer” by Lorisrizzo

Second place: “Repel men” by Nahton

Third place: “The Valentine Surprise” by Kibishipaul

Honorable mentions:

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

More content packs added to Moviestorm bundles

We’ve added some extra packs to some of the Moviestorm bundles. They don’t cost you any extra, so you’ll now get more for your money if you choose any of the three upgraded themed bundles or Moviestorm Complete 2010.

If you’re a regular subscriber, the extra packs will be automatically added to your Moviestorm content library next time your subscription renews (which could be 1, 3 or 12 months, depending on your subscription) if you don’t already have them.

Boxed editions purchased in the next few weeks will not show the new content packs on the DVDs packaging. You will still get the additional packs, and they are included on the DVD.

What’s new?

Kids Shows: Fun Land
Fantasy Films: Halloween, Halloween 2009, Female Monster Heads
Moviestorm Complete 2010: Fun Land, Halloween, Halloween 2009, Female Monster Heads

Following this upgrade, the Action Movies, Factual TV, Situation Drama and Music Videos bundles will still include 11 content packs. Kids now has 12, and Fantasy is boosted to 14. All themed packs cost just $75, or $10 per month to rent. The Complete bundle has now grown to a massive 39 packs, offering amazing value for only $30 a month or $225 to purchase.

Check out the latest bundle deals!

[Post edited 5 March 2011]

(0) Comments | Permalink | Posted by Matt Kelland

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