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Concerned (Half-Life 2 comic)
February 27, 2006 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Concerned (Half-Life 2 comic)
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome (38 comments total)

 
Forget comics give me my god damn AFTERMATH
posted by AMWKE at 12:12 PM on February 27, 2006


Give me Half-Life 1.5 Teh Movie! Directed by the Memento Guy!
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 12:14 PM on February 27, 2006


I know Chris is a MetaFilter member, so congrats Chris on the FPP! The comic is perhaps even more hilarious than Not My Desk.
posted by kcalder at 12:18 PM on February 27, 2006


I'd actually really love a proper, non-comedy Half Life / half Life 2 comic.
posted by Artw at 12:19 PM on February 27, 2006


I don't get it.
posted by notmydesk at 12:22 PM on February 27, 2006 [1 favorite]


lol
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 12:24 PM on February 27, 2006


I don't get it.
posted by notmydesk at 12:22 PM PST on February 27 [!]

Neither do I
posted by subaruwrx at 12:29 PM on February 27, 2006


Yes, the difference being that he made the comic and u r n00b.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 12:30 PM on February 27, 2006


PotEoA: Your nick always cracks me up. I tried to find a way to email you and tell you but don't know how. Anyway, it never ceases to make me smile.
posted by rbs at 12:36 PM on February 27, 2006


I really, really wanted to be able to create some short machinima clips with Source back when it had a lot of buzz around it. This effort reminds me of the creative capacities of game engines. However, these posed image sequences don't convey the finer points of the engine in any way. I suppose the major elements are expressed through texture, the posed models and the basic composition from the bsp structure.

It would really come alive if it were animated... it's really too bad the engine is such a bear to work with. First you'd have to do the voiceovers, then you'd have to split each sentence into hundreds of files and run them through the facial composition software. Then you'd have to tie those facial patterns and vocal files to an animated model, create a working AI path/script for it in Hammer and go from there. About 80 hours later, you'd end up with a guy walking into a four sided room and utter a sentence with a confused look on his face - oh, and that's if you were working with Valves models and one of their levels. Want to create your own characters and environments? Learn Hammer and a professional modelling package like Max 8. Heh...

So, all in all I see it as fairly paradoxical to take a cutting edge (cough) engine that's meant to run at 60FPS+ and from that create a sequence of posed, static images in reference to a canned (prescripted) sequence from the game itself.
posted by prostyle at 12:37 PM on February 27, 2006


thanks rbs. click on usernames for profile.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 12:40 PM on February 27, 2006


That. Is. Awesome.
I just beat the game again the other day (felt like expoding some Combine) so it's perfect.

"Our finest poet describes it thus: Gallum galla gilla ma."
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:51 PM on February 27, 2006


prostyle - Hmm, I wonder if that's anything to do with the lack of cut-scenes? I'm guessing everything your doing there is in order to create an in-game "intersactive" scene that can be interupted by user action?
posted by Artw at 12:51 PM on February 27, 2006


Prostyle, I hear ya. I spent the better part of a weekend learning the bare basics of Hammer and FacePoser, and came away with pretty much what you describe: A blank room with a guy standing in it delivering a single line with no expression. It's such a non-intuitive, borderline-frustrating process that it's hard to really get excited enough with the reults to spend the time building something worthwhile, at least from my limited experience.

I'm hoping in the future some revisions are made to the SDK to make it a little easier to create animated pieces. I definitely found my first go at it discouraging.
posted by notmydesk at 12:53 PM on February 27, 2006


prostyle, i think you need to read further than the first couple episodes. i skipped ahead to the last few and they're not in reference to any of the game's main storyline.

as well, using Garry's Mod, it's much easier to make 'a sequence of posed, static images' than to make any sort of Machinima.
posted by NationalKato at 12:54 PM on February 27, 2006


prostyle, it looks to me like this is aiming to be, y'know, a comic rather than a tech showoff session. It uses screenshots from the game because it keeps the models and characters that are familiar to HL2 players, and in such a referential comic it's funnier that way. If it was fully animated and voiced in the Source engine it'd be awfully impressive, but would it achieve what the writer wanted - to wrap some funny lines about Half-Life 2 in an authentic package - any better? I've seen lots of visually amazing machinima films, and not a single one of them made me laugh anywhere near as much as this did.

I guess it reflects the way the pre-scripted intro sequence from Half-Life 2, which uses AI no more complicated than is required to make a character walk along a pre-defined path, is a million times more dramatic and provides a much more memorable experience than any cutting-edge adaptive AI blah blah waffle I've ever encountered. Shiny tech in games might be impressive, but good design and writing will always tower over it. It's the same story with the comic - the visual side of it is as simple as having posed and taken a bunch of screenshots with the editor, but it gets the writing across far better than a thousand-hours'-work fully-orchestrated epic film could.
posted by terpsichoria at 1:04 PM on February 27, 2006


I'm diggin' the Half-life Asskicking Device...

...which I found trying to re-find this crazy Half-life Rube Goldberg Device...

...which probably isn't as good as this other one.

/ Not sure how, exactly, this relates, but I'm sure that it does.
posted by LordSludge at 1:06 PM on February 27, 2006


Very funny. I must get around through cheating my way through HL2 one day.
posted by teleskiving at 1:06 PM on February 27, 2006


Wow, this stuff is great. The bit about picking up the can is perfect. Kudos, good sir. (hmm, better quicksave)
posted by undule at 1:09 PM on February 27, 2006


bgsound
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Awesome at 1:26 PM on February 27, 2006


I've been following this comic since near day one. Always makes me laugh, especially following the game's story arch (the Ravenholm chapter especially. "What are we ggoing to do with 100,000 circular saw blades?")
posted by sourwookie at 1:26 PM on February 27, 2006


Aha, I took NationalKatos' suggestion and skipped forward a bit...
I really do enjoy the spontaneous scenes a lot more, and the Gordon/CS universe mashup is quite funny.

In my original post I was not attempting to deride the author for this very creative effort. The project simply reminded me of a few tests I had performed previously, and I'm glad to see he looked in to that area of the engine as well.

It's such a non-intuitive, borderline-frustrating process that it's hard to really get excited enough with the reults to spend the time building something worthwhile, at least from my limited experience.


Very true. Thank you for that link to your original experiment, it provides some excellent context to your current work.
posted by prostyle at 1:36 PM on February 27, 2006


Elder of Awesome: I've done that, but don't see how to get an email from there.

Ben
posted by rbs at 1:51 PM on February 27, 2006


nevermind, i'm dumb.
posted by rbs at 1:53 PM on February 27, 2006


this rocked. I just read the entire thing, and I loved it. bookmarked.
posted by shmegegge at 2:38 PM on February 27, 2006


Ditto on the Awesome.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:10 PM on February 27, 2006


PotEoA: Your nick always cracks me up.

Yeah, I hate those Generic handles...
posted by mkultra at 4:00 PM on February 27, 2006


The background music makes it.
posted by cortex at 4:05 PM on February 27, 2006


So when are we getting our own CS server? Never? Okay.
posted by jenovus at 4:17 PM on February 27, 2006


Ironically, I originally found this webcomic via a link in some MetaFilter thread I can't recall, and have been hooked ever since.

I ♥ Gordon Frohman.
posted by May Kasahara at 5:01 PM on February 27, 2006


I adore Half Life 2. And that made me laugh my fucking arse off. Brilliant. Thank you.
posted by Decani at 5:16 PM on February 27, 2006


Hey, where's my via? OMG HAX
posted by brain_drain at 5:50 PM on February 27, 2006


I've been following Frohman for a while now. Really good stuff.

Artw - try Apostasy - it's ok.

Me, I'm a fan of Alien Loves Predator.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 5:51 PM on February 27, 2006


The background music makes it.

*shoots coke out nose*
posted by spiderwire at 7:48 PM on February 27, 2006


ok, the alien loves predator comic is fucking HYSTERICAL. w00t for that.
posted by shmegegge at 8:48 PM on February 27, 2006


I have to give my support to Chris' comic. My first strip was #62 which I found at Joystiq a long time ago and it's still my favourite. I am currently reading the comic for the second time and it even made me start playing HL2 again and using Garry's Mod even though I do not have the time.
posted by Grums at 1:33 AM on February 28, 2006


I just finished reading each and every comic. Brilliant! Personally I loved the inside HL jokes, and occasional dig at Counter-Strike. Great post and good work Matt, I look forward to future issues.
posted by Hanover Phist at 7:34 AM on February 28, 2006


This is one of my favorite internet things. I've been reading it since shortly after it started.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:58 PM on February 28, 2006


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