7th Columnist


Red Vs Blue: The Animated Series
August 30, 2008, 2:01 pm
Filed under: Gaming, Halo, Machinima, Movies, News, PAX, Rooster Teeth

Wowser. Didn’t see this coming.

Rooster Teeth Productions, the guys behind Red Vs Blue, gave a short preview of an all new RvB during their PAX panel yesterday. Apparently set after the events of the currently running Reconstruction (though concrete details are sketchy), this is a brand new series following the exploits of Red and Blue team with a extra special twist… it’s animated!

Rooster Teeth are yet to update their website with the release, but we expect further details to follow soon. Leaving behind the traditional machinima approach and contraints of Halo 3 in favour of a more saturday morning anime style, this is a totally new direction for the RT guys. It looks incredible, and judging by the response of the crowd during the show, is set to be a sure fire hit.

What do you think? Have they gone too far, leaving behind their roots within the community, or are fully animated hand gestures just what the doctor ordered for this hapless troop of marines?

**UPDATE**

According to reports from PAX the new animated cartoon series is due to air following episode 19 of RvB: Reconstruction.

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Halo Wars E3 Cinematic
July 14, 2008, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Gaming, Halo Wars, Movies, News

While Microsoft’s Press Conference failed to provide us with any Bungie or Halo related announcements (looks like we’ll have to wait until Wednesday morning for that), the guys over at Ensemble Studios have posted a brand new cinematic trailer for the forthcoming RTS, Halo Wars.

Entitled ‘Five Long Years’ the entirely pre-rendered trailer gives a short minute-and-half glimpse of the five year struggle faced by the UNSC as they battle the Covenant for the first time, and sets up more of the overall Halo Wars narrative.

Though they may not reveal all that much about the game, the Halo Wars trailers thus far have been nothing short of spectacular – delivering hefty amounts of emotional grit, whilst fleshing out the Halo universe. If nothing else, they showcase even further the massive potential for a big budget Halo movie. Bungie, Microsoft, Peter Jackson, whoever… you have got to make this happen.

**UPDATE**

It would seem there’s a whole bunch of new Halo Wars screenshots and renders over at the site too.

**UPDATE 2**

An updated FAQ lets slip news that the Covenant are indeed playable in the game and we can expect a full retail release sometime during Spring 2009!



Machinimendations – RvB: Reconstruction
July 1, 2008, 3:27 pm
Filed under: Gaming, Halo 2, Halo 3, Machinima, Machinimendations, Movies, News

Roosterteeth Productions have just released the fifth chapter of Reconstruction, the follow up to their award winning series Red Vs Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles.

If you’ve not yet seen the series, then you owe it to yourself to go take a look. With production values rivalling that of your average TV show and an awesomely compelling narrative, Reconstruction serves as a great entry point for anyone who missed out on the colossal five series’ of Red Vs Blue that came before it.

What’s it all about?

Picking up where the Xbox Live mini-series: Recovery One left off, Reconstruction follows the exploits of Agent Washington, a freelancer sent to investigate a mysterious attack on Outpost 17-B by an entity known only as the “Meta” – an enemy which has been steadily killing off members of Project Freelancer, stealing their partner A.I.’s and making off with their armour upgrades.

Whilst pursuing a lead, Washington is sent to Blood Gulch to gather information about the infamous Omega A.I. believed to have been recently acquired by the Meta. There he meets the survivors of The Blood Gulch Chronicles and is forced to work alongside them as he attempts to unravel the mystery at hand.

Got Trailer?

When and where?

Episodes are released every monday over at the Rooster Teeth website with special extended cuts available exclusively to sponsors ($10) of the show.

Machinimendation?

Original and best, the Rooster Teeth guys have once again come up trumps and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more polished Halo machinima series than this. You don’t need your partner A.I. to tell you to go watch. We just did.

Got a machinima series/video you’d like to see featured here? Let us know via the contact page. Alternatively, you could go one better and upload and share it with the community over at 7th Columnist Colonies.



CGI Armor Testing Trailer
June 27, 2008, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Gaming, Halo, Halo 3, Movies, News

I’ve been meaning to post this for a little while now, but for some inexplicable reason it’s somehow managed to fall beneath the radar. Having recently been reminded of the phenomenal amount of work that’s gone into this, I figured it was high time to do something about it.

Those of you who picked up the Halo Graphic Novel last year will no doubt remember the second short story from the collection, entitled Armor Testing.

Written and illustrated by Ed Lee, Jay Faerber, and Andrew Robinson, it tells the tale of Spartan 062, Maria, as she tests out a suit of MJOLNIR Mark VI armour – by facing off against a team of ODST’s – before it is eventually shipped off to our hero Master Chief Petty Officer John 117 to be used in the field.

Heavy on action and even heavier on cool, animation student MajorDump decided to try his hand at re-creating the story as an animated CGI feature. Below is the mind blowing trailer to his forthcoming project.

A staggering piece of work that’s no doubt caught the watchful eyes of those at Bungie – we can’t wait to see how this progresses.

Hungry for more? Then check out this other MajorDump gem, and CGI remake embedded below – the classic first episode of Red Vs Blue.

Thanks to Louis Wu of halo.bungie.org (with a little help from Laird), you can download both shorts in super high-res mega-HD editions, here. Go feast!



Machinima Green Screen Tools
June 23, 2008, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Custom, Downloads, Gaming, Halo 3, Machinima, Movies, Multiplayer, News

Good news for Halo 3 machinimators today, as iGuardian has managed to create the perfect green screen setup for chroma keying. Using his technique you’ll be able to effectively place your characters over any backdrop just like George Lucas and his boys over at Industrial Light & Magic.

Basically, what he’s done is managed to get a teleporter set up to whisk you off to the outer limits of multiplayer map, Guardian. The process is simple enough, and once completed you’ll be treated to nothing but green… in terms of backdrop, perfect for some green screen compositing. He’s even put together this handy tutorial video showing how it’s done:

Simple eh? Hat’s off to iGuardian for coming up with and executing this idea. I’ve no doubt it’ll prove invaluable to many an ambitious machinimator out there. How long before we see a Halo weather report?

The forged map variant is available to download here. Go grab it and make something cool!



Cold Storage In Action
June 15, 2008, 12:21 pm
Filed under: Downloads, Gaming, Halo, Halo 3, Movies, Multiplayer, News

Last night saw the announcement of the newest map to return via Halo 3 remake, Cold Storage. A remake of the popular Halo: Combat Evolved map, Chill Out, and high on the wishlists of many an MLG player, the new map was premiered at the MLG San Diego competition, giving lucky participants Karma and Legend the chance to try out the level exclusively.

So far we’ve had little to go on with regards to exactly what Cold Storage plays like. MLG posted their own off screen images taken from the event, but they didn’t really give us the best idea of what to expect. We reckon Bungie will release further information and perhaps some high res direct screens later this week, but until then, those unable to make it to the MLG event, are sadly left in the dark.

Good news then, that we’ve managed to track down some off-screen shaky-cam video footage of Cold Storage in action, taken from the event itself – and it sure looks pretty. Check out all five and a bit minutes of it below.

As you can see from the footage, Cold Storage looks set to be an accurate recreation of the original Chill Out – teleporters intact! – as opposed to a ‘spiritual successor’ in the style of Guardian from Lockout. That’s got to please at least some of the “Halo 3 brokes my favorit map!” brigade out there, even if it won’t silence the “We wanted Boarding Action!!! Bungie suk!!1!” troop.

More news as it comes, but after seeing this map in action, I have to say I’m getting more and more excited about its return.



The man behind the warthog
November 5, 2007, 12:56 pm
Filed under: Gaming, Halo 3, Movies, News

Neill Blomkamp’s Halo 3 shorts were awesome, largely down to that hulking great Warthog WETA had built for them. But who was responsible for re-creating Bungie’s messiest 4×4 in the real world?

The man in question is Peter Osborne, an Automotive Fitter and Turner by trade, with over 25 years in the engineering industry. Peter was brought on board specifically to oversee the creation of the fully functioning Warthog due to the number of challenges facing WETA surrounding the need for a futuristic four wheel drive vehicle.

“I have always had a passion for four wheel driving since I was a teenager”, says Peter, “from building them to reworking, sourcing parts and putting the machines together. All my spare time and weekends, were taken up with working on automotives.”

From school, Peter landed an apprenticeship at a local garage, and soon moved into his area of interest, as a production fitter, then ultimately engineering. Engineering is what he enjoys most. “It’s like putting together the lifeline of a vehicle”, he says. “From the design to the build of the automotive, the engineering aspect means you have to understand every process behind the running of the machine.”

After nearly 30 years you could forgive anyone for getting tired of their chosen profession, but for Peter it’s the creativity involved that keeps him coming back for more. “It’s a visual tool”, he explains, “you are building things and seeing them evolve, and to see the finished product at the end of the project is a real thrill.”

Having now been at WETA for a year, Blomkamp’s shorts were Peter’s first chance at getting on a film set – as he was called in to join the Halo crew, making sure the Warthog behaved as it should during shoots. “It was eye opening”, he says, “the amount of people involved in a shoot is just amazing, it was great to experience being on that side of the production process.”

You can see Pete’s astounding work in action in the Halo 3 shorts, recently re-released over Xbox Live Marketplace as one standalone piece; Halo 3: Landfall. Check it out below.

For more information about Peter Osborne and his Warthog, check out the latest update over at Weta Holics.