Tag Archives: valve

The Problem With Machinima

MachinimaLast year, as many of you know, we announced the end of the Leet World. At the time, we cited several reasons, one of them being our confirmation that Valve was not interested in machinima in the slightest. While we couldn’t go into the details of how we knew this to be true, it seems that another machinima studio has done so.

Pixel Eyes Productions are the creators of the well known Shelf Life machinima, using the Source engine. Recently, they’ve gone through some of the same issues we had in terms of trying to monetize their (hour intensive) hobby, and came up with similar results. We just assumed not talk about the problems we had, but it seems they have done so. This includes their issues with trying to become YouTube sponsors, where they were denied, just like us, since they don’t own the rights to the Source machinima they produced. Naturally, Valve owns those.

More interestingly than the YouTube dilemma, though, was that they (like us) pursued the securing of these rights from Valve, via a commercial machinima license of some kind. And, they have posted the official response. Which, just as we insisted all those many months ago, was simply that Valve is not interested in machinima.

If you don’t feel like clicking on the link, here’s the short of Valve’s response.

We are not interested in licensing our technology or IP for machinima. This includes providing copyright approvals.

I have to say, I really feel for Pixel Eyes, having been in their shoes just last year. If you are a young filmmaker trying to use Valve’s excellent Source tools, they have essentially shut the door with statements just like that. While I don’t blame Valve for trying to protect their property in the slightest, it certainly is a shame to see them take such a hard line stance when it comes to something their community produces so readily and in many cases excellently.

To me, it’s stances like these that will keep machinima in kind of a stale flux for many years to come. What you are starting to see is that the more talented individuals get snatched out of making machinima and onto other things, because machinima runs into more dead ends than it does opportunities. While it’s a nice low-budget way to practice something you love doing, making money off of it is often times the exception and not the rule. And this extends beyond machinima even, to any kind of derivative content.

My advice for any hobbyists out there that like to dabble in machinima or other forms of derivative content (fan fiction, stories based on popular games or movies, comic strips that do the same, etc) is that if you want to do this stuff for a living, don’t spend all your time on something you don’t own. By all means, practice your craft with machinima and use it to gain a fanbase, but let that be only a supplement to a project that you own completely, and let that be where you sink most of your time into.

Trust me, in the long run, it’ll be worth it. You don’t want to spend years of your life working on something only to be told that it doesn’t really belong to you in the end. Sure, you gained lots of experience and you had fun doing what you loved, but if you can do all that and then use it to pay the bills, it’s a double bonus. And believe me, if you’re good, somebody somewhere will want to pay for what it is that you’re kicking ass on.

So go out there and make it happen.

A Kindly Reminder to Vote

The deadline for the Streamy Award nominations is rapidly approaching. Faster than the hair grows on Nick’s face, even. Terrifying, right? Well don’t let the fear paralyze you, stand up and vote for Web Zeroes. The deadline is this Friday, January 15th, and you can vote every single day until then. Every vote counts, and we seriously appreciate the support. If you’ve forgotten, I put up a voting guide for Web Zeroes so you guys can help us out.

Writing has officially begun on Web Zeroes, Season 2. We had an awesome planning session recently and I must say, this season gets meta as all hell. I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully you guys are, too.

In other news, we are considering picking up the podcast-ing again. You guys should submit some topics you’d like to hear us discuss or things you’re curious about in our world of content creation. Maybe we’ll talk about them. Or not. Either way, let us know!

Also, I’m not sure how many of you have seen the Source filmmaker tests that have been leaked from the TF2 beta. From what I hear, it could really change the way Source machinima is done. It eliminates the need for actors and renders some pretty cool effects in real-time. That sure would have been helpful a few years ago, Valve, but maybe it’ll see the light of day at some point. I doubt it, but folks can dream, can’t they? Anyway, here’s a cool Team Fortress 2 test I saw the other day:

The Leet World, 2.13: Army of One, Part 1

Downloads: Quicktime, Quicktime HD, iPod, WMV.

The series finale of The Leet World begins! The Producer sheds some light on the mystery surrounding Player, the house is under siege and some of the cast has fled. Will the remaining members work together to stop the Producer’s army?

The Leet World, 2.8: Hide and Sneak

Downloads: Quicktime, Quicktime HD, iPod, WMV.

The house has changed since a recent subtraction and addition to one of the teams, and everybody is feeling it. Will Asher get the CT’s to work together again? How will the Terrorists pursue their plan? And why is Player acting so strange?

The Curtain Closes

curtainEver tried to take a band-aid off, and you know it’s really going to suck when you do it, but you’ve got to just get it over with? Well, there’s no really easy way to say this, so…

Season 2 will be the last season of The Leet World.

I know this comes as a shock to a few of you, but there are quite a few good reasons that the show we all know and love will draw to a close over the next few months. And amidst all of that, there is even some good news that I think you can all be extremely excited about, but more on that later.

We started working on The Leet World back in May of 2007. To be honest, we thought we would only ever make a couple of episodes of it and then we’d give up on the thing altogether. We’ve been called a lot of things over the course of our lives, and motivated typically wasn’t one of them. But then something really awesome and shocking happened — people wanted more of it.

So around Episode 3 or 4 of the first season, we mapped out where we wanted the show to go. Over the course of a few weeks, we brainstormed, hashed some things out, and then came up with a really exciting story that would cover three full seasons worth of episodes. From that point on, we have been committed to that idea for the entire show.

So why is Season 2 the last, then? Read on for the text wall explanation, as well as a really awesome announcement.
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The Leet World, 2.7: Tempest

Downloads: Quicktime, Quicktime HD, iPod, WMV.

It’s round 2 of the 2nd challenge, and something sinister is afoot. What surprise does Westheimer have in store for the Terrorists, and what happens when the Producer’s errand disrupts the entire game? One thing’s for sure- nothing will be quite the same.

The Leet World, 2.3: Trial By Inferno

Downloads: Quicktime, Quicktime HD, iPod, WMV.

The first challenge has arrived! However, it looks like the rules have changed this season. What kind of leg up do the current champions get? And how far will Westheimer go to win? It’s an epic showdown at de_inferno!

Buy Our Swag

I mentioned we’d have one or two other surprises coming up soon…

Introducing: The Leet World Store, where you can get your first ever TLW shirts!

Right now the selection is pretty limited, but this is just a trial run. Currently, the only colors we can offer are red, white, military green, brown and charcoal for the guys, blue, pink and yellow for the ladies. I’m partial to the green and brown, myself.

It should be noted that since we’re going through Cafepress (for now), any issues you have with ordering, delivery, etc, should be taken up with them.

A quick note about the price/selection of the shirts… Our available merch is going to be limited at first until we get an idea of the demand. If it turns out that there is a big enough demand for these shirts, we should be able to offer a wider selection of shirts (catch phrases, etc) and have more flexibility on pricing. At the moment, we are limited as to what kinds of products we can offer and the pricing points we can set. This is step one in a several step process. Happy browsing!

In other news, Jace is hard at work on the Season One soundtrack, and what I’ve heard is exceptional. In addition, the first episode commentary should be up within a couple of days.

Down the Tracks

A close look at the first screenshots from Episode Eleven will more than likely reveal the location of the next challenge. Thought you guys might like the answer to that particular question. We’ve been excited about this episode for awhile, and we really think you guys will have fun with it. From our website statistics, it’s apparent that Episodes 4 and 8 are the most viewed, and we’re guessing it’s because of all the shooting and explosions. Rest assured, you will have plenty of those in our next installment.

Screenshots are below.

T3h leakz Tattling Spawn schemes

Video game news from the webz: LitFuse Films releases their new short, Valve shows off Left 4 Dead, the April Fools “Lego Halo” game, Team Fortress 2 is updated, and the coolest website ever- a list of the top 100 NES games– click on one and you can play it in your browser!

The Valentine’s Day Trailer

It’s not quite candy and flowers, but it will have to do.

We try to deliver when we say that there are going to be some nice extras, so I bring a gift: a trailer for Episode Ten of The Leet World. Work on the episode is going well, with the bulk of shooting now complete. It should be out at some point next week, barring some calamity of the heavens. Which, if you’ve been around our “studio”, can (and frequently does) happen. In the meantime, there will be plenty of treats for you guys between now and then- our new short is on its way rather soon.

In addition, here’s some gaming news from the week: Is BioWare making a new KOTOR game, Zero Punctuation assembles some SimCity stuff, Pandemic supposedly making a Battlefield/LOTR style game, a ridiculous MGS 3 video, and a huge TF2 Valentine from Valve.