For the set of this film, we chose my bedroom – I live a pretty minimal life and don’t have many possessions, so it was easy to turn my barren room into a post-party hellhole. We collected the oddly large amount of alcohol in the house, scattered it around the table-tops, and threw around some old clothes. Hey presto – you’re life’s a mess in no time!
Andreas brought down his go-pro for the shoot, which was attached to a belt and wrapped around my chest. We thought about using a helmet for affixing the camera to me, but it just made me seem unnaturally tall with arms too low down my torso. The big light in my room was turned on to counteract the harsh light coming in from the window.
Ben’s makeup was a particularly funny thing to do – instead of real makeup, we used tacky face-paint, adhering to the traits of the try-hard party-animal student characters we created. It was quite horrifying really. More than quite. Especially when he rubbed ketchup on his chest and put tomato paste in his teeth. Yeesh.
Ben showing the girls how it’s done
For the ‘leave’ and ‘psycho’ endings, we GENUINELY dropped a go-pro out of a window. we had Andreas and Dom down in the garden with a sheet, ready to catch on my cue. It felt strange to be dropping hundred’s of pounds worth of camera out of a window so casually, but the result was ace in the end. It was a struggle to not get a shot of either the sheet or me sticking my head out of the window, but we managed it after i perfected my release.
The audio taken from the go-pro was fairly hissy and tinny, so we spent a couple of hours in the newton studios re-dubbing mine and Ben’s dialogue. We used our fave vocal set up – a sennheiser 441 and a U87 – to do all the lines and as usual it worked a treat. While we were in there, we hashed together three ‘radio broadcasts’ with each member of the team contributing to one. Ben and I made a Rick and Morty style advert for wigs, Andreas did a wacky music show announcement, and Dom did a BBC style news bulletin.
By Ben Jackson
The game was made in Unity. Using the code that I spent too long trying to make work. But more on that later…
First I took the footage into Adobe Premiere Pro and edited each ‘scene’ as an individual subsequence this meant that I could quickly jump in and out of scenes as well as having a master sequence that I could use to check if the edits flowed properly. I also used the master sequence to add a colour grade over the project to give it a more cinematic feel over the washed out go-pro look. A slight de-warp was applied to make the wide angle lens effect less extream.
The Master sequence with multiple paths as layers
Once the editing was done it was time to head back into the studio to dub over Niall’s dialogue, (see above) this was then exported from ProTools and dropped into the corresponding sequence. In ProTools, we added compression and a slight reverb to make the voice have that ‘inside your head’ feel. We also used ProTools for the music track at the start as well as the radio adverts. It was important to get all the clips to the same level so that the user wasn’t constantly having to change their volume, which would have broken their immersion. Finally, I exported each subsequence as an h.264 file ready to import into Unity.
In Unity, I added all the files to the project. This converts them into Ogg Theora format which makes them easier to play in the unity engine. This does mean a loss in quality, but from my own experience with games, quality is pointless without a good story. (*Cough* Crysis *Cough*). To enable the videos to be seen I used the old school method of using a cube to project the image on as a texture. This meant making unlit textures for every video file I had. Note the word ‘unlit’, the first tests I did, I ended up lighting and they came out sunset red. It took a whole night of panicking before I realised… The video textures are fired using a script called run.cs, which basically says when the scene opens to play the video. Then another script called ‘Wait.js’ waits for a programmed set of time and then goes to a different scene. I use public ‘Vars’ or variables to set the time and destination so that I could reuse the script over rewriting it. Must like Bill Gates said “Choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
An interactive video that follows on automatically isn’t interactive
So to fix this I added the options scene. This is just the last frame of the clip behind some 3D text which shows the options available. This is again powered by a script that can be reused to go to different places. The script also accesses the “rend.material.color” function to change the colour of the text as the user’s mouse hovers over each menu item, I then added a beep tone to the mouse up action. These are both important as they give user feedback and helps guide the user through the game without needed extra text. Much like the pull side of the door having a handle and a push side with a push plate. Rather than both having a blooming handle!!!
Next, I chose to tackle the radio scene. This took two nights to program and still is a little broken. But the effect was worth it. The effect uses the user’s mouse position to affect the X translation of the cube acting as the tuning stick. I then use X position to test whether the stick is over one of the channels (2,5,8). If they are the white noise is turned off and the radio show is played. There is a slight lag as the files swap over but this helps the user work out where the channels are so I kept it in. As the channel plays, I also enable the click function which moves the player to the next sequence. (This is easier to say than do, See below)
What my nightmares look like now
The final bit of coding was the camera which is just a slideshow cut up to act as a camera playback. This then cycles between images as the user hits the mouse button. At the start, if they choose to remember the go to ending ‘A’ but if they choose to go to the end of the photos they end at ‘B’. I also had to double back on myself as I realised that I disabled the mouse cursor during the radio scene so I quickly enabled the mouse after the radio scenes.
Finally, I made an over the top credit scene which we’ve all grown to love in ‘indie’ games. To do this I used After Effects to create multiple text layers and then automated a camera to move around the 3d space. Vola a cheesy outro sequence!
The Code that was forgotten
Originally we added some background music to the piece this was done using an audio source than never got destroyed as the scenes changed. We then realised that it clashed with other music sounds so I automated the mixer to turn up and down a fader to kill the music. After all that work we decided to scrap the music completely. I left the code in as a little tribute to that one guitar loop.
Gify.(2017)’ The Hunger Games'[Online] Available at: https://giphy.com/gifs/the-hunger-games-WlvFyTDoXn9Uk/ [Accessed 27 Apr. 2017]
Unity Manual. (2017) [Online] Available at: https://docs.unity3d.com/Manual/index.html [Accessed up till 27 Apr. 2017]
Unity Scripting API (2017) [Online] Available at: https://docs.unity3d.com/ScriptReference/index.html [Accessed up till 27 Apr. 2017]