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Author Topic: The End of The Movies  (Read 1682 times)
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Maggot
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« on: March 03, 2006, 04:28:40 PM »

We understand that Lionhead have had a company meeting today, where the decision was taken to downsize the company from 3 studios to just the 2, which means the loss of approx 100 people. We assume this is due to the poor sales figures of both The Movies and Black & White 2.

For more info go to www.themoviesplanet.com
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Zarkon
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2006, 04:31:07 PM »

Ah, but read the official response:  They're pulling back from The Movies because of a 'AAA' product coming down the line in the future.
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2006, 05:25:29 PM »

Quote from: "Zarkon"
Ah, but read the official response:  They're pulling back from The Movies because of a 'AAA' product coming down the line in the future.


Fable 2?
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2006, 06:18:02 PM »

If they would stop making crap like the B&W series then maybe they wouldn't have to do this. slywink For the record, I'm anxious about the expansion pack because I'm still enjoying the heck out of The Movies. Just haven't found the right amount of time to make my own stuff.
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2006, 09:24:16 PM »

The expansion is still coming out in summer.  TMO, the online movie upload area, will still be till at least then, so they say.

Plus, the mod community already has new sets, props, and costumes out, with much more to come.

The only two areas that need some help are the user controlled camera placement and new scenes.  I'm hoping the free camera movement will be in the expansion, and if worse comes to worse, some Lionhead developer releases info on how to import animations into the game.

This game will be a great way to make animated movies, and therefore be useful, for a very long time.  Check out the movie "Blackbird" on The Movies Online to see an example of where things are now, in terms of movie quality. Kai pan and sleeves are like the Spielberg and Lucas of TMO movies, the movie is awesome.
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2008, 04:35:46 AM »

I was sooo addicted to The Movies for a couple years, but I'd forgotten all about it. For some reason I was looking it up tonight, and realized Lionhead finally officially pulled the plug on The Movies Online site altogether, just last week (Dec. 5, 2008):

http://www.lionhead.com/themovies/TMO.aspx
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After three years Ė 2005 to 2008 - almost two million visitors and over a years worth of unique movies posted (thatís 33025270 seconds), Lionhead Studios feels itís time for the final curtain to come down on The Movies Online.

The number of new movies posted and traffic visiting the site dropped to a level that means it is no longer viable to keep the site operating. Therefore the site was shut down on 5th December 2008.
I had such an awesome time with it. I think my only problem was I found it so addictive to work on movies that I would blow entire weekends trying to "fix" one movie. So a couple of times I just quit using it cold turkey. Also, a lot of feedback on The Movies Online was just downright vicious and personal -- I had a hard time dealing with that sort of crap, although in some cases, I was able to re-work movies based on criticism of the Initial Release.

I guess in a way the game was doomed because (just imho), the "game" part of The Movies was basically a watered down variation on The Sims mushed together with a Theme Park game. But it was the actual making of films that was special and unique, and if you were into it, quite wonderful. But how do you market that to Gamers? I really felt the product deserved to be as monster a hit as The Sims, and deserved a bunch of expansions, but it's sad to think now it's pretty much kaput. So many games are destroy this, destroy that (and I'm certainly into that), but how many are truly about creating things other people can enjoy? Or pick apart.  icon_razz

I did post a couple of my movies to You Tube (jazzed up a bit with credits and transition screens via Windows Movie Maker), and you'd be surprised how many The Movies films live on there.

My fondest memories are of getting message board friends, and sometimes complete strangers (via Future Start Network, one of the more useful The Movies fan sites) to record voice lines for my movies. My big regret are the couple films I never quite finished. One was a fairly generic film noir that I never got around to recording voices for (I was going to get a couple female reporters to help, but never quite got around to it). The other was sort of a mess using a lot of the Stunts and Effects tricks. I also regret never quite getting the hang of the "manual camera positioning" that Stunts and Effects added. It was just beyond my feeble comprehension.

I guess my high point in terms of The Official Site was a short lived time when "The Rescue" was on the top 10 Action film list, and when my poster-promo link got some play at the main site. Very short lived, but I took a lot of pride and joy in that.  icon_smile
« Last Edit: December 09, 2008, 04:47:14 AM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2008, 12:13:04 PM »

Link please! I was thinking of picking this up actually.  I really like the idea but I don't think I would get very far into the game.  I wouldn't be interested in the Tycoon part of it really, I would just want to make movies
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2008, 12:26:58 PM »

Could you recommend any good user made movies to watch?  The real downfall for most of them seems to be the lack of any decent (or any) voice acting.
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« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2008, 01:08:27 PM »

Quote from: Canuck on December 09, 2008, 12:13:04 PM

Link please! I was thinking of picking this up actually.  I really like the idea but I don't think I would get very far into the game.  I wouldn't be interested in the Tycoon part of it really, I would just want to make movies

It's $2.90 right now at Gogamer. I might get this as well.
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« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2008, 02:49:37 PM »

Here's a short video I made about a group of Canadian freedom fighters in The Movies.

Personally, I really enjoyed the simulation / "tycoon" part of the game.  It seemed like there were always so many things to do: spruce up the grounds, get your stars and directors to schmooze and rehearse, hire new talent, research new stuff...I still play through the campaign mode from scratch once in a while!

-Autistic Angel
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Canuck
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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2008, 03:10:56 PM »

Looks like someone picked up the Stunt expansion! lol!
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« Reply #11 on: December 10, 2008, 10:08:53 PM »

Oh, if you type in "The Movies Lionhead Studios" at YouTube, you'll see tons of stuff. I hated how Lionhead's own site scrunched movies down to postage stamp size (for the sake of file size/streaming speed). I had a lot more fun watching films on YouTube or other hosted sites as there was more leeway to see your films in a larger format.

My two flicks on You Tube are:

Wars End [pre-Stunts and Effects]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xy7c2Ns_mE

The Rescue [post Stunts and Effects]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYm4U6zvdno

*If you have the bandwidth, be sure to click the little "Watch in High Quality" links; I think that's a new YouTube feature of sorts.

Yes, I'm partial to trying to make war movies, and no neither is terribly original. I was hamstrung by inadequate props (the game has Huey choppers but nothing more modern in terms of military choppers), and having to get creative with backdrops (re, sometimes using "alien landscape" to represent Afghanistan.  icon_razz

The sad thing about The Rescue is the original, sans-voice, much harshly criticized original is the one that got tons of views on TMO, and a listing in the top 10 action films. By the time I polished it, added full voices, and "re-released" it, nobody cared.

I added opening/closing credits via Windows Movie Maker for YouTube versions. I still get an occasional comment about both films, sometimes a compliment, sometimes constructive criticism, sometimes "you suck", sometimes "you're a tool of the U.S. proletariat regime!!!" more often, "You're ripping off Saving Private Ryan and Black Hawk Down, you tool!" That just comes with allowing comments on anything you ever post online I guess.  drool I don't think I'm much interested in enabling comments if I ever post stuff there again, my psyche's better off without it.

What's interesting when I look back at these things (which I made around 2005-2006) is I can sort of tell how I was feeling. I can tell I was going through some heartbreak at the time I put Wars End together, so the sense of melancholy - if you look for it - is almost palpable.

With The Rescue, some really nasty comments at TMO that I took too personally got me upset, I remember that. And I was just going to walk away from the game. But instead I tried to filter out the "white noise," take the constructive criticism, add full voices, and take it as far as my meager skills would let me. It's just a shame I never could understand how to install mods in the game (after Stunts and Effects, most user-created mods no longer worked, afik), and I never got comfortable with the "manually positionable" camer that S&E added either - it would've given The Rescue a much more unique style. And maybe I could've had Blackhawks (via a mod) instead of Hueys. icon_razz
« Last Edit: December 11, 2008, 01:39:32 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2008, 12:55:43 AM »

Wow that Rescue one was great! The voices weren't half bad-did you do all of them yourself?  That's one thing that concerned me about the game was perhaps the lack of props, etc to make a really realistic movie.
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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2008, 01:38:10 PM »

There are tons of props, and Stunts & Effects added many. I just got a little frustrated with the limits on certain kinds (military, certainly, but in other categories too), but there was a lot to choose from. A cool thing on audio is that you can import all matter of sound effects and music and use them in The Movies. Just keep in mind the file sizes as custom sounds can sometimes really up the final file size of the flick.

If you read the credits for The Rescue (they flash by pretty fast, you might have to Pause icon_smile) and Wars End, I put little voice actor credits by nickname. I did a few voices, but also got some nice help from "volunteers" at the Future Star Network forums. That was an awesome fan site/forum for the game though I think it might have finally faded out a while back. I did a lot of the "supporting roles" via headset mic, but I liked to get other people to do the main characters.

So a German guy helped me with the sniper in Wars End - although I've had YouTube comments that complained "you should get a REAL German guy to do that voice!" Uh, I did. He even corrected some of my attempted German dialog (I just used Google's translating tools) because he said they didn't read/sound authentic. But maybe he was making it up.  icon_razz

A buddy nicknamed Bassface helped me with the initial chopper pilot in The Rescue, and he was a huge help using his audio tools to add some "radio static" to his and other voices in the flick if they involved people talking by radio. Another guy, nicknamed Lando, did voice for the rescue chopper pilot.

A couple guys from the Future Star Network forums helped with the U.S. squad leader, and the British chopper pilot at the end (again, apparently really a British guy). I don't know if the British really have gunships flying around Afghanistan, it was just a last second inspiration.  icon_razz

And my lame attempts at "Afghani" language were basically just some educated guesswork based on some Googling of the language. I do regret not having some friendly Afghan troops in it at some point. Maybe I really am just a "tool of the U.S. proletariat regime" afterall.  icon_lol
« Last Edit: December 11, 2008, 01:49:51 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2008, 11:14:30 PM »

I stumbled onto this Gamasutra "Secret History of Lionhead," which includes a couple mentions of The Movies:
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/1803/the_secret_history_of_lionhead_.php?page=1

One is interesting in that when they were "pitching" possible games around 2002-2003, "The Movies" was actually the only one of three (the others being Fable and Black & White) the Bankers Truly Got:
Quote
This financial-friendliness even had to extend to game concepts, unbelievably, as Molyneux noted of the game concepts they were working on: "It had to be an idea that bankers understood,". Apparently, the bankers were a little confused by Black & White, basically understood the RPG/fantasy nature of Fable, and particularly 'got' The Movies.
Although now I wonder if they only got the "Sims-Rollercoaster Tycoon-Theme Park wannabe" portion of the game, and not the Affordable Machinima Tools other side of the game.  icon_confused

There's a later mention of Molyneaux feeling they rushed both The Movies, and Black & White, in a frantic effort to get them out by Christmas 2005:
Quote
In the end, neither Black & White 2 nor The Movies got the critical or commercial reception that Lionhead might have hoped, and Molyneux commented: "I feel that we rushed them."
I'm still glad, in retrospect, they were able to get Stunts & Effects released in spite of the original game's relatively lukewarm reception. I'd argue most fans who got into it, esp. the movie-making side, were incredibly passionate about it -- it just didn't translate into the sales that Publishers want to see.

Of course there's more that could've been done. I cried long and hard [That's what she said! icon_razz] for some ability to "pin" sound files in place on the editing "strip" so that going back and adding a file or deleting a scene didn't completely undo all your careful sound and subtitle placement. I don't think in the end they realized people would want to go back into their movies to revise and try to perfect stuff -- the editing tools were downright hostile in that regard, and I just wished there'd been one more expansion that polished that usability aspect more.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2008, 11:17:17 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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