Unfortunately Nicole is out due to sickness this week, so we decided that I would step into her role for a few days until she is feeling better. This is a challenge particularly because there are only three of us, so to loose one third of the workload slows us down. Moreover, Nicole has a year of specialist experience in Unity and Adventure Creator that Fiona and I don’t have, so to step in and take over requires a lot of very quick learning.
Learning the Basics of Adventure Creator
I began by taking time to gain an understanding of the Adventure Creator Plugin – how it works, and the purpose of it. I went to the Adventure Creator tutorial site and made my way through a few of them, to understand the interface and production processes. By this stage in the course, I know how my brain works when taking in new technology; I need to have a general overview of the whole workings of something to understand the specific challenges. I did this with Adventure Creator, which was vital for the next few days as I launched into a side of our project which was pretty new to me.
Sequencing Colin In Unity
One of the first things that I began to try was to get the sequence of Colin working. This was of high priority to us as without this, there’s no interview. I began by scanning Nicole’s blog as I knew she’d previously made progress on this.
My first problem was that I couldn’t figure out how to create new action lists, which is how to make ANYTHING work in adventure creator. After pulling my hair out for about an hour and reading a good few chapters of the Adventure Creator manual, I finally saw that I needed to load the Scene manager setting, which was limiting the functionality of the actionlists. Once I turned this on I was able to create my first actionlist -yay!
For the sequence setup I was able to chat with Nicole and she walked me through the process. I sequenced Colin by using an action list using the command object: send message action to fade in and an engine wait to pause while the interview part plays then an object fade out.
While I was able to get each of the videos working individually with the fadein fade out function, I could not figure out how to get them all in sequence. Nicole was then able to help me out (and save me an infinite amount of pain!) by setting up the action list without timings on it so I knew how to do it.
When she sent me the new action list through, none of the prefabs for our scenes were plugged in causing the sequence not to work. I was expecting them to be there, and as I found out later, Nicole was too. She had previously filled in the sequences, but AC was dropping every scene apart from the first one every time the project was closed and opened again. This was a problem, but I decided to continue with the sequencing while in the scene., as it was only until the project was closed, that the sequences dropped.
Timing the Sequence
From here I plugged each scene into it’s correct space in the action list. With Nicole’s illness, I suggested that she set up the script, but not worry about refining the timings – I would do that after. This worked well as it allowed her to do enough to get the sequence working well, but she didn’t need to spend time on the fiddly timing part.
From here I watched through the sequences, taking notes of what was off time & what needed extended or cut. This process was even more tedious than expected as there was no way to skip different parts of the interview – each time I needed to what the whole thing through.
Reordering the Scenes
I sat with our production notes, following the transcript through the interview, tweaking the times with each edit. As I was doing this, I noticed something not quite right with the interview sequence – it was different to the animatic. The scenes were out of order, and had been added in reference to their name in the Visualise app, but not their order according to the final cut of the animatic. This was because the animatic was created by cutting different parts of the interview out of sequence to achieve the best edit. When Nicole set up the original production reference sheet, it was according to the scenes, not the animatic. This was an easy mix up, but it was good to notice at this stage. I then sat with the animatic, creating a new section in the production sheet to note the correct order of each scene.
I also re-edited the order in the action list to amend the sequence. This involved plugging the nodes into the correct places. There is an auto arrange button in AC which was so handy, otherwise I think I would have just created a programmer’s nightmare.
Below is a video Nicole created of the scenes running in order:
Final Edits to be done
While completing the timing for the sequences, I saw that a few of the videos audio were off sync with the video, or that there were strange tinny sounds in the audio. I also noticed that a few clips were cut a little too early. I made a note of each of these, and plan to examine the problems in the next couple of days. This interview IS our piece, and we need it to be as close to perfect as we can get it. By putting the time into creating a great edit, I think we will be closer to achieving the professional finish that we all set out to achieve.