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Escape from City 17
February 13, 2009 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Escape from City 17 - Live action short film (episode 1) Here's episode 1 of "Escape from City 17", a live action series set in the Half Life universe. Phenomenally well done, and completely worth the dreaded SLYT.
posted by datter (48 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was utterly down with this until they started talking.
posted by Jofus at 8:26 AM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


...that is exactly what I thought.
posted by ipe at 8:35 AM on February 13, 2009


I'm at work and also have a short attention span, so I just kind of skipped around. The effects look absolutely great - the, you know, talking stuff, I don't know.

But yeah, stuff blowing up was really well done. Gordon would be proud.
posted by kbanas at 8:35 AM on February 13, 2009


Needs more crate puzzles.
posted by public at 8:38 AM on February 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


That's some extraordinarily good visual effects work; I'm really impressed. But they ought to rethink the use of narrative techniques like "stand around and listen to somebody explain the plot through a walkie-talkie."

Bonus points for the crowbar, though.
posted by ook at 8:39 AM on February 13, 2009


Great idea. Pretty good integration of live action with game effects. Almost completely inaudible audio and what I could hear was yawwwwwn. THRILL as someone you don't know uses the wrong radio channel! BE AMAZED at the list of driving directions he receives! WATCH IN HORROR as characters display zero emotion or tonal inflection!
posted by DU at 8:40 AM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Crowbar ftw.
posted by ryoshu at 8:41 AM on February 13, 2009


Agree, the visuals are great, acting, not so much. Still better than Uwe.

Also, people that get to use accents in movies: meryl streep, don cheadle, sean connery (scottish only).
posted by sexymofo at 8:41 AM on February 13, 2009


Great video, and good use of the HL sound effects. Then again, there was this bit: "I hate walking."
posted by craven_morhead at 8:52 AM on February 13, 2009


I agree, the vocals were a bit low and the acting was... well, indie film acting so I can overlook that.

Does anyone know what sort of possible copyright infringement issues these guys might be dealing with in a project like this?
posted by datter at 8:59 AM on February 13, 2009


As someone at 4chan said, the actors probably are the same people that made the special effects so: good acting or good cg, pick one.

Semi-relatedly, I really liked the Coke Babies video from their profile.
posted by Memo at 8:59 AM on February 13, 2009


This is fun, but it's no Full Life Consequences.
posted by Spatch at 9:04 AM on February 13, 2009


I liked it, the filmmakers showed a lot of ambition. I think they could cut out that clumsy dialogue scene, as it's pretty obvious what the rebels need to do - GTFO of C-17.
posted by shino-boy at 9:05 AM on February 13, 2009


I want a live action Gordon Frohman. That guy is always getting into sumptin'.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:08 AM on February 13, 2009


I'm thinking that the "I hate walking" line was a tribute to the character Francis in Valve's newest game, Left 4 Dead. Francis hates pretty much everything.
posted by thewittyname at 9:10 AM on February 13, 2009


When does Ayn Rand come up in Left4Dead?

Wait, now that I think about it, L4D is basically Ayn Rand's whole viewpoint. It all falls into place!
posted by DU at 9:18 AM on February 13, 2009


Speaking of Gordon Frohman...
posted by jeffkramer at 9:22 AM on February 13, 2009


Gordon Freeman!!?!
posted by monocyte at 9:32 AM on February 13, 2009


Wow, really impressive. If this becomes a series, I imagine the acting/dialogue will get better with time. And even if it doesn't, I'm still watching.
posted by treepour at 9:33 AM on February 13, 2009


Wow. This is the quality of work done by guys doing a tech demo on spec? Really, really nice.

I wonder how scary it was in real life running around the railroad yard with real-looking guns and hoping not to have a SWAT team accidentally show up...
posted by lothar at 9:39 AM on February 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


To me, this came across as kind of a teaser. I mean, what really happened? They ran through a train yard. It was established they had to leave City 17. They shot a bunch of metrocops. Good stuff n' all, but I'd hope that future episodes (as seen in the credits) will have more characters, more happening and an actual plot.

But yeah, the visuals are spot on. It is astounding to me the quality of CG that can be produced on shoestring budgets these days. This kind of stuff would have cost in the hundreds of thousands (if not millions) just five or six years ago.

I'll be watching future episodes. If only for the blood spatters.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:43 AM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


So you're saying that acting is an actual talent, and you can't just throw random people into a scene and have it win an oscar?

SHOCKED! I AM SHOCKED!

(but the CG is great!)
posted by blue_beetle at 9:47 AM on February 13, 2009


This was pretty remarkable. And quite frankly, I've seen acting as bad or worse from Hollywood films, so I'm not going to get down on them for crappy acting. This could easily end up being the best movie based on a video game ever made.

(Not saying a lot, since the current title holder is Silent Hill, but you know.)
posted by Caduceus at 10:06 AM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


Looks like Vancouver.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:14 AM on February 13, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you want a Halflife youtube series that's funnier than it should be, see "Mind of Freeman." It's commentary of a playthrough of Halflife 1 as Gordon Freeman, if he were neurotic.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:15 AM on February 13, 2009 [13 favorites]


@DU: Romero's zombies symbolized consumerism, but the Left 4 Dead zombies symbolize socialized health care?

/s, totally for universal care.
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:17 AM on February 13, 2009


Pick up that can.
posted by plexi at 10:18 AM on February 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think Abe Froeman should make an appearance.
posted by craven_morhead at 10:18 AM on February 13, 2009


...the Left 4 Dead zombies symbolize socialized health care

Actually, I was thinking more of the "I'm real, my thoughts are original and interesting, and all the rest of you (zombies) can go suck it".

The inverse of the typical zombie game could be pretty interesting. Basically (the book version of) I Am Legend in video game form, told from the POV of the zombies. "There's this insane sociopath killing us but we're so slow and stupid no one of us can stop him! What do we do?"
posted by DU at 10:28 AM on February 13, 2009 [4 favorites]


When does Ayn Rand come up in Left4Dead?

It's a visual pun. In one level, the players must make their way through an airport. In the lobby is a fountain with a statue of Atlas holding the earth. So, when as you run past the statue, Francis will say "I hate Ayn Rand" - a sly reference to Atlas Shrugged (and maybe even the Fountainhead).
posted by thewittyname at 10:49 AM on February 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


That was awesome use of game footage, animation extracted from the game editor, and most importantly, the game audio (the sound effects on the guns and Combine radios). Yeah, the acting could be tighter. But damn! Really fun piece!
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:53 AM on February 13, 2009


The inverse of the typical zombie game could be pretty interesting. Basically (the book version of) I Am Legend in video game form, told from the POV of the zombies. "There's this insane sociopath killing us but we're so slow and stupid no one of us can stop him! What do we do?"

Would it be some sort of weird RTS? Or a sim game? I agree that would be interesting, but I don't know how you could execute it and make it a fun game.

I guess the ideal platform would be a flash game similar to The Majesty of Colors, where it's not really a game so much as a somewhat interactive mini-story.
posted by Caduceus at 10:54 AM on February 13, 2009


The inverse of the typical zombie game could be pretty interesting...told from the POV of the zombies...Would it be some sort of weird RTS?

With the proper level design and balancing, that could be really awesome.

A game where you controlled enormous hordes of slow zombies with an RTS-type interface, and you try to pin down and overwhelm a series of agile, heavily-armed action heroes that mow down your zombies like butter. You'd have destructible environments so the heroes could use explosives to knock down a wall just when you think you have them cornered or drop a ceiling on an entire mob of your zombies. And fire. Don't let the heroes get to the fire!

And then for the boss battles, it would be an action game where you play a gigantic zombie with tons of health and you pick up huge chunks of rubble to throw at the hero who keeps ducking behind cover and running under your legs and climbing up on your back to stab your weak spot.
posted by straight at 11:42 AM on February 13, 2009 [3 favorites]


A game where you controlled enormous hordes of slow zombies with an RTS-type interface, and you try to pin down and overwhelm a series of agile, heavily-armed action heroes that mow down your zombies like butter.

I just happen to be doing some research on this game mechanic, actually. Basic concepts have been around for hundreds of years. Asymmetric games like Fox games and Tafl games are great fun.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:59 AM on February 13, 2009


A game where you controlled enormous hordes of slow zombies with an RTS-type interface...

That's what I was originally envisioning, but then I typed up my idea to email to a friend and I had another one: MMO. We each control N zombies (where N could be 1). And maybe we can't even communicate with each other, which better mimics how stupid zombies are. OTOH that could be frustrating (but zombies seem pretty angry to me). Also, you can still figure out what other players are trying to do by watching them. Maybe zombies can do that and maybe they can't.
posted by DU at 12:18 PM on February 13, 2009


I really liked the visuals and the general atmosphere, but the action felt rather lacking. Maybe it was the poor acting, but all the scenes with violence had no sense of urgency or threat. Still, great job for what it is, I'll probably watch whatever else they do.
posted by MetaMonkey at 12:24 PM on February 13, 2009


Also, please no more bad guys who cant shoot a nearby stationary target. Its wrong, very, very wrong.
posted by MetaMonkey at 12:29 PM on February 13, 2009


That's what I was originally envisioning, but then I typed up my idea to email to a friend and I had another one: MMO. We each control N zombies (where N could be 1). And maybe we can't even communicate with each other, which better mimics how stupid zombies are. OTOH that could be frustrating (but zombies seem pretty angry to me). Also, you can still figure out what other players are trying to do by watching them. Maybe zombies can do that and maybe they can't.

Well, now you're describing Urban Dead with graphics.
posted by Caduceus at 12:57 PM on February 13, 2009


Oh my god the Freeman's Mind thing is hilarious.
posted by empath at 1:50 PM on February 13, 2009


Can you play Urban Dead as a zombie?
posted by DU at 2:45 PM on February 13, 2009


Yes. You can. While I still played I always preferred to play as a zombie.
posted by Caduceus at 2:56 PM on February 13, 2009


In the lobby is a fountain with a statue of Atlas holding the earth.

It can apparently kill you as well.
posted by Rhomboid at 3:17 PM on February 13, 2009


Guys, do you need a writer? I've written stories. Stories that have sold. To magazines. I already work for peanuts. Help me help you.
posted by The Whelk at 4:32 PM on February 13, 2009


That was great.
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:46 PM on February 13, 2009


"Mind of Freeman" was hilarious!!!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:20 AM on February 14, 2009


Just prior to seeing it here, my friend sent me this with the subject; "Filmed guerilla style with no money, no time, no crew, no script, the first two episodes were made from beginning to end on a budget of $500."

And I realized that this kind of thing is exactly what I've been waiting for: HD cameras are consumer priced, CGI software is readily available, as is the power to do sophisticated, non-linear editing and sound design.

They say this was made for half a grand, and it was pretty fucking cool. What more will the world provide us with the average film-maker now having access to the ability to produce stuff that would have broke the bank 20 year ago?

Bonus points for the crowbar, though.


Oh yeah! It was really good up until that point, when the crowbar came out, I knew that they has sold me, and made me a fan.
posted by quin at 9:11 AM on February 15, 2009


This was fabulous, but I still question the "made for $500" claim. These guys are pro's and obviously have access to more resources than an average independent....either way though, I think it's awesome work.
posted by scarello at 5:46 PM on February 15, 2009


I was utterly down with this until they started talking.

I really dug the dialogue. It seemed pretty genuine and fit the circumstances they were in pretty well.
posted by tybeet at 1:30 PM on February 21, 2009


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