Author Topic: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists  (Read 28726 times)

Codewalker

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Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« on: October 09, 2012, 03:15:05 PM »
Hey all, I was inspired by a PM from Leandro asking if this was possible (who then went and quickly implemented something similar himself to prove the concept :)), and thought it might be useful to people who want to use the COH engine to make Machinima, even without a server available.

In short, when you're playing back a demo and press F2 to enter the free camera look mode, Cameraman steps in and does the following:

  • Displays the current X, Y, Z coordinates of the camera.
  • Displays the current rotation (PYR) of the camera.
  • Allows you to copy the camera position / rotation to the clipboard in demorecord format.
  • Allows you to change the flight speed of the camera. COH's normal camera speed is very slow and it takes ages to get to a position you want in large zone like IP. No more!

Here's some screenshots:








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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2012, 06:32:53 PM »
Is that Whatchacalit Wharf in the screenshot?

Codewalker

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2012, 06:51:35 PM »
Is that Whatchacalit Wharf in the screenshot?

Yes, that's over on the Villain side of the zone, just across the corner from the hospital and the black helicopter line, and near the collapsed exit tunnel with the crushed semi.

Zombie Man

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2012, 11:33:36 PM »
Youse is geniuses!

Can you poll the memory and display any currently activating sound files or animations and display it in a similar fashion?

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2012, 01:47:41 AM »
Oh, finally. Paragon City gets a gas station.

redgiant

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2012, 04:44:00 AM »
Ohhhh, if you know how to affect the mouselook events for speeding up, can you please, please add an Invert Y-axis checkbox to Cameraman?

I can't tell you how helpful that would be to anyone like me who always uses inverted Y. Especially with the wonderful speedup Cameraman provides.

[sorry for the slight thread necro, but with the game coming down soon I don't want to add new topics around this]


TimtheEnchanter

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2012, 07:52:13 AM »
Oh sweet... I'd been thinking for a while that we needed something that could do this. And... there it is. :)

Oh, finally. Paragon City gets a gas station.

But... it's blocked by police cars.

There must've been a hurricane.

TimtheEnchanter

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2012, 08:48:46 PM »
Codewalker...

I don't know what trick you're using to amplify the camera speed, so maybe this is an impossible request. Is there any chance you could expand on the slider function to slow the camera below normal speed, for extremely subtle movement? There are some video shots that call for VERY subtle movements, and it would also be useful for fine-tuning screenshots.

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2012, 10:23:53 PM »
Oh, after doing Demorecords of our Supergroup bases, I have nothing but LOVE for this tool.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!
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Arachnion

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2012, 10:33:05 PM »
when you're playing back a demo and press F2 to enter the free camera look mode

WAIT WHAT!?

Such a thing exists?

Oh. My. God.
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corvus1970

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2012, 10:34:45 PM »
Is that Whatchacalit Wharf in the screenshot?
Kallisti Wharf :)
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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2012, 10:45:06 PM »
Amazing program.

Amazing free camera mode.

I can't believe after six or so years playing I didn't know about that command.... thank you Codewalker.
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TimtheEnchanter

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2012, 11:03:26 PM »
Amazing program.

Amazing free camera mode.

I can't believe after six or so years playing I didn't know about that command.... thank you Codewalker.

The F2 function was snuck to live right around the time the shutdown was announced, I believe. This gives us much more control over it though. And the coordinate grabber is great for planning camera moves to be added via the Demoedit app.

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2012, 11:08:47 PM »
The F2 function was snuck to live right around the time the shutdown was announced, I believe. This gives us much more control over it though. And the coordinate grabber is great for planning camera moves to be added via the Demoedit app.

I see. It works with Beta client demo files too.

I just flew around Peregrine Island.

Somewhat...  :-\
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Codewalker

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2012, 04:34:47 AM »
Codewalker...

I don't know what trick you're using to amplify the camera speed, so maybe this is an impossible request. Is there any chance you could expand on the slider function to slow the camera below normal speed, for extremely subtle movement? There are some video shots that call for VERY subtle movements, and it would also be useful for fine-tuning screenshots.

Yes, that should actually be quite possible.

If normal speed is 1.0, how much slower are you thinking? Like 0.5 and 0.25 settings?

Glass Goblin

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2012, 04:53:37 AM »
The F2 function was snuck to live right around the time the shutdown was announced, I believe. This gives us much more control over it though. And the coordinate grabber is great for planning camera moves to be added via the Demoedit app.

Actually, if I remember what Black Pebble said when he revealed it's existence, it had been in the demo system for a while, but no one knew about it. The demo system was one of the least documented portions of the game, which is why when demo playback stopped including sounds, it was never fixed.

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2012, 04:57:16 AM »

Tahquitz

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2012, 06:11:05 AM »
Kallisti Wharf :)

10,000 Internets for anyone who has the .cohdemo of this zone for us to peruse.
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Megajoule

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #18 on: December 03, 2012, 09:34:59 AM »
I don't have that zone, but I do have pretty much all of the others:

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B0rmU0UrIINISHpfTjFOU3pWeEU

50.5 megabytes.  Paragon City, Rogue Isles, Praetoria.  Also the PvP zones, the Shadow Shard...
(It's all in the readme inside the zip file.)

Glass Goblin

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #19 on: December 03, 2012, 01:29:30 PM »
I don't have that zone, but I do have pretty much all of the others:

https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B0rmU0UrIINISHpfTjFOU3pWeEU

50.5 megabytes.  Paragon City, Rogue Isles, Praetoria.  Also the PvP zones, the Shadow Shard...
(It's all in the readme inside the zip file.)

Thank you! I'm trying to start a public demofile library, and your zip will be a terrific base for it.

Arachnion

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #20 on: December 03, 2012, 05:58:57 PM »
10,000 Internets for anyone who has the .cohdemo of this zone for us to peruse.

I will be searching for the Wharf myself later on today.

But other people here like Codewalker most certainly already know it's internal filename/location.

Oh, and thank you very much, Megajoule.
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Codewalker

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #21 on: December 03, 2012, 07:21:47 PM »
Well, a very early version is in maps/City_Zones/City_05_02/City_05_02.txt

There are a few instanced mission maps based in the zone as well; those contain snapshots of it in various stages of development, but most are somewhat more complete than the version in City_05_02.

maps/Missions/outdoor_missions/Outdoor_Kallisti_Wharf/IOM_Christie_Square/IOM_Christie_Square.txt
maps/Missions/outdoor_missions/Outdoor_Kallisti_Wharf/IOM_Old_Slough/IOM_Old_Slough.txt
maps/Missions/outdoor_missions/Outdoor_Kallisti_Wharf/IOM_PPD_Headquarters/IOM_PPD_Headquarters.txt
maps/Missions/outdoor_missions/Outdoor_Kallisti_Wharf/IOM_Stadium/IOM_Stadium.txt
maps/Missions/outdoor_missions/Outdoor_Kallisti_Wharf/IOM_Statesman_One/IOM_Statesman_One.txt
maps/Missions/outdoor_missions/Outdoor_Kallisti_Wharf/IOM_Vanguard_CO/IOM_Vanguard_CO.txt

Don't be fooled by the names; that's just for which part is "walled off" and set up with spawn points. Of those, IOM_Stadium probably contains the most complete version of the zone, though the central area is unfinished in all of them.

Arachnion

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2012, 07:38:38 PM »
Cool  ;D

Thanks for that, man.
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Samuraiko

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2012, 06:37:24 AM »
*stares*

Wha-...

How'd I miss THIS?!

Oh. My. God.

*stares*

CoVideoHell might... MIGHT... have just become possible again.

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #24 on: December 11, 2012, 04:35:38 AM »
How do I get Cameraman to work?  I've tried putting copies of the executable into the City of Heroes directory and the client_demos directory, but it doesn't seem to do anything.  Hitting F2 during a demorecord still disconnects the camera, but there's no Cameraman screen.  Am I doing something wrong?

Codewalker

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #25 on: December 11, 2012, 04:56:02 AM »
Did you run cameraman? You may have to run coh in windowed mode to be able to see it.

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #26 on: December 11, 2012, 05:54:42 AM »
Did you run cameraman? You may have to run coh in windowed mode to be able to see it.

Tried running cameraman (by clicking on the executable) on a second screen, but I think CoH was in full-screen mode on the main screen at the time.  Will try windowing it. 

Do I want to run cameraman first, then fire up CoH, start the demorecord and then run cameraman, or what?

Codewalker

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #27 on: December 11, 2012, 02:48:39 PM »
You can launch cameraman before or after you start the demo playback, it'll work either way.

therain93

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #28 on: December 11, 2012, 05:23:15 PM »
How do I get Cameraman to work?  I've tried putting copies of the executable into the City of Heroes directory and the client_demos directory, but it doesn't seem to do anything.  Hitting F2 during a demorecord still disconnects the camera, but there's no Cameraman screen.  Am I doing something wrong?
Cameraman's stay on top checkbox doesn't seem to actually work (or, atleast the CoH client doesn't resepect the setting), but windowed mode is quite adequate.  I actually keep two shortcuts of the client for playback -- one is full screen, the other is windowed so I can drag and drop a demorecord file onto either, depending on my purpose.

I think the full screen arguments are   -fullscreen 1 -screen 1920 1280
and the windowed is argument is -fullscreen 0

I don't have access to paragonwiki from work so the fullscreen 1/0 might be reversed.
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TimtheEnchanter

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2012, 08:48:22 AM »
Yes, that should actually be quite possible.

If normal speed is 1.0, how much slower are you thinking? Like 0.5 and 0.25 settings?

I could even see going down to 0.05.

Though to avoid the trouble of making a longer slider, would a toggle be simpler? Then the slider changes between "speed up" and "slow down." And decrease the speed by reducing it in half for each tick. 0.5, 0.25, 0.125, 0.0625.

ThorsAssassin

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #30 on: December 12, 2012, 01:04:50 PM »
Wanted to thank you again for this program Codewalker, I saw it when it went to the official forums and have been using it since.

I have been trying to get movement down now that the game has shut down and I noticed that you can only copy the camera position / rotation to the clipboard for every point of origin. Trying to figure out how I could use it to place movement when there is several points as the character or whatever moves across the map or what have ya.

I don't know if that made sense..

Arachnion

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #31 on: December 12, 2012, 07:55:06 PM »
Wanted to thank you again for this program Codewalker, I saw it when it went to the official forums and have been using it since.

I have been trying to get movement down now that the game has shut down and I noticed that you can only copy the camera position / rotation to the clipboard for every point of origin. Trying to figure out how I could use it to place movement when there is several points as the character or whatever moves across the map or what have ya.

I don't know if that made sense..

Made sense to me.

You wanna figure out how to track movement, and place it as it goes, like in a path?

NOTE: I don't know how to do it  :P
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The Fifth Horseman

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #32 on: December 12, 2012, 09:32:02 PM »
Perhaps by setting the key points through which to move and interpolating the intermediate positions? Just a thought.
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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #33 on: December 12, 2012, 11:24:36 PM »
Yeah, there's no easy way to set up pathing unless there is NOTHING else happening in the demo.

For instance, if you have

0 CAM 1 0 0

5000 CAM 100 0 0

You'll get the camera smoothly moving across the map. BUT... you can't look at this like you would with keyframing in an animation program, because each object doesn't get its own animation timeline.

If you wanted a character running AND the camera chasing, logically you'd do this (MOV's removed for simplicity)...

0  1   POS 5 0 0

0 CAM POS 1 0 0

5000 CAM POS 100 0 0

0  1  POS 105 0 0

But you'll get undesired results. Because the second command for the character to move doesn't happen until AFTER the camera has moved, he'll just sit there and then teleport until after the camera movement. This is why demos have countless little movement ticks all meshed together looking like one huge mess.

Zloth's Demo Editor was meant to make it possible to create complex sequences and generate all the movement ticks based on setting keyframes, but it's sadly unfinished, glitchy, and hasn't been updated since around Issue 12.

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #34 on: December 13, 2012, 08:48:15 PM »
I need to make Synchrotron's tool available to you guys. I'm in the middle of something right now, but I may have the answer to that. :)

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #35 on: December 13, 2012, 10:22:11 PM »
Hey all, I was inspired by a PM from Leandro asking if this was possible (who then went and quickly implemented something similar himself to prove the concept :)), and thought it might be useful to people who want to use the COH engine to make Machinima, even without a server available.

In short, when you're playing back a demo and press F2 to enter the free camera look mode, Cameraman steps in and does the following:

  • Displays the current X, Y, Z coordinates of the camera.
  • Displays the current rotation (PYR) of the camera.
  • Allows you to copy the camera position / rotation to the clipboard in demorecord format.
  • Allows you to change the flight speed of the camera. COH's normal camera speed is very slow and it takes ages to get to a position you want in large zone like IP. No more!

Here's some screenshots:








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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #36 on: December 14, 2012, 03:38:10 AM »
Yeah, there's no easy way to set up pathing unless there is NOTHING else happening in the demo.

For instance, if you have

0 CAM 1 0 0

5000 CAM 100 0 0

You'll get the camera smoothly moving across the map. BUT... you can't look at this like you would with keyframing in an animation program, because each object doesn't get its own animation timeline.

If you wanted a character running AND the camera chasing, logically you'd do this (MOV's removed for simplicity)...

0  1   POS 5 0 0

0 CAM POS 1 0 0

5000 CAM POS 100 0 0

0  1  POS 105 0 0

But you'll get undesired results. Because the second command for the character to move doesn't happen until AFTER the camera has moved, he'll just sit there and then teleport until after the camera movement. This is why demos have countless little movement ticks all meshed together looking like one huge mess.

Zloth's Demo Editor was meant to make it possible to create complex sequences and generate all the movement ticks based on setting keyframes, but it's sadly unfinished, glitchy, and hasn't been updated since around Issue 12.
For some seriously gorgeous camerawork:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvtsLyRxlHg
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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #37 on: December 14, 2012, 03:46:43 AM »
For some seriously gorgeous camerawork:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvtsLyRxlHg

Aralcox did amazing work... I was so disappointed when he stopped.

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Torroes.Prime

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #38 on: December 14, 2012, 04:01:44 AM »
Yeah, there's no easy way to set up pathing unless there is NOTHING else happening in the demo.

For instance, if you have

0 CAM 1 0 0

5000 CAM 100 0 0

You'll get the camera smoothly moving across the map. BUT... you can't look at this like you would with keyframing in an animation program, because each object doesn't get its own animation timeline.

If you wanted a character running AND the camera chasing, logically you'd do this (MOV's removed for simplicity)...

0  1   POS 5 0 0

0 CAM POS 1 0 0

5000 CAM POS 100 0 0

0  1  POS 105 0 0

But you'll get undesired results. Because the second command for the character to move doesn't happen until AFTER the camera has moved, he'll just sit there and then teleport until after the camera movement. This is why demos have countless little movement ticks all meshed together looking like one huge mess.

Zloth's Demo Editor was meant to make it possible to create complex sequences and generate all the movement ticks based on setting keyframes, but it's sadly unfinished, glitchy, and hasn't been updated since around Issue 12.

There is one way I've figured out.

Create a new demo in Balshor's demo editor (I still have the program is anyone needs it) that is completely blank.
Make an new entity that will be the entity you want to have moving around in the demo (if the camera, this needs to be done twice, once for the Camera itself and once for the player toon).
Figure out your timing for your movements.

Then open the dome you want to have the moving object in.
click on "Import commands" and select the demo you made the movements in. It will import the commands and line items from it into the other demo.
Click "Resort" so everything gets sorted according to time code. The editor does a lot of the work for you leaving you with just a little clean up and fine tuning.

Not perfect, but markedly better then hard coding 500 separate POS and PYR changes.
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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #39 on: December 20, 2012, 08:47:45 AM »
Ohhhh, if you know how to affect the mouselook events for speeding up, can you please, please add an Invert Y-axis checkbox to Cameraman?

I can't tell you how helpful that would be to anyone like me who always uses inverted Y. Especially with the wonderful speedup Cameraman provides.

[sorry for the slight thread necro, but with the game coming down soon I don't want to add new topics around this]



Code, any chance on getting the inverted Y-axis for this? Not having it is REALLY making it hard for me to use this. :(

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #40 on: December 23, 2012, 01:59:25 AM »
Code, any chance on getting the inverted Y-axis for this? Not having it is REALLY making it hard for me to use this. :(

Michelle
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Samuraiko/Dark_Respite

I'm guessing you're referring to Yaw, not the Y-coordinate?

At the least, yeah, a Yaw coord inverter would be REALLY nice. Because what is pointing in one direction for the camera, is the opposite direction for everything else. Which means you can't use copy PYR for angling characters and NPC's without doing some extra number crunching or trial and error.

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #41 on: December 23, 2012, 08:59:14 AM »
Inverted pitch for mouse input, actually.  Not yaw.
Many of us, self included, are used to it that way.

TimtheEnchanter

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #42 on: March 25, 2013, 09:12:35 PM »
Interesting thing happened today. The YAW is now inverted both for models and the camera. As in, if I just copy the camera POS and PYR and paste it into a demo, everything faces in the opposite direction.

MaidMercury

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #43 on: May 03, 2013, 12:07:19 AM »
Oh, after doing Demorecords of our Supergroup bases, I have nothing but LOVE for this tool.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Did you have to re-create your SG to see it in Demolition?
....Like a map? Then launch demo...and you are inside the map?

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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #44 on: May 03, 2013, 01:22:28 AM »
Inverted pitch for mouse input, actually.  Not yaw.
Many of us, self included, are used to it that way.

I'll add my voice to this request as well... That's the single biggest problem I have when I'm trying to move around and screenshot or FRAPs in a demo. I'm used to "pilot controls", and demos having it the other way by default is very, very difficult for me to use. 
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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #45 on: May 03, 2013, 05:03:21 PM »
Did you have to re-create your SG to see it in Demolition?
....Like a map? Then launch demo...and you are inside the map?

You have to have pre-existing demos taken in your base to use them.

As in, demos you recorded while you were in your base, while the servers were still online.
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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #46 on: March 04, 2014, 04:33:02 PM »
I'm late to the ballgame and I'm not really a demorecord specialist.

I'm a little upset I can't easily make new demorecords....

I know how to track the text from Camerman into a log file ... we could even have some customization of the log (replace entity a with entity b) then shuffle the entries (abababa) line per line.

EDIT for clarity: The shuffle would combine two or more log files for animation sequences...I think that's how it has to go.

Would this be a good and valid tool to make?

Thanks,
Brandon
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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #47 on: March 05, 2014, 12:19:14 PM »
It would be a very simple tool to make.

The first step in reading the demo file is to split up the records by entities and time, the last step in producing a new demo file is to merge the records together into one file.
The only thing you need to be careful with are the timestamps, which have to be converted to absolute during the split and back to relative during merge.

I had something in PHP to handle the splitting, merging would be much simpler.
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Re: Cameraman: A tool for Machinimists
« Reply #48 on: March 06, 2014, 02:32:03 PM »
At the time of this post, The Fifth Horseman has 666 post.... I think it's an omen!  :gonk:
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