The Craft of War: BLIND

By Shamus Posted Saturday Jan 3, 2009

Filed under: Movies 41 comments

Wow. Machanima has gotten elaborate. I didn’t even know there were tools out there for doing this.

Link (YouTube)

I’m sure this wasn’t done inside of World of Warcraft. No doubt they used a program to extract the art resources from the game (I used something similar to set up a few shots for Stolen Pixels that would have been too much of a pain otherwise.) They would have then needed to use some other program to generate all of the animations. Amazing work.

I know I just got hit with the same criticism myself, but I did think it would have been better if it was a little shorter. Or maybe I was just getting tired of the song. Either way, it’s a nice bit of well-polished work.


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41 thoughts on “The Craft of War: BLIND

  1. Gabe Glick says:

    That is definitely fun and well put together, but if you want an example of some truly amazing Machanima, you really need to check out the Dead Fantasy videos if you haven’t already: (there are YouTube versions as well, but the GameTrailers ones are higher quality)

  2. LemmingLord says:

    I don’t think the Monty Oum videos quite count, because they’re CG and not done in-game or with assets from games.

  3. Gabe Glick says:

    Really? I knew that the movies weren’t built inside the games, but I could have sworn the character models were at least based off of in-game assets. Still, even if they are just CG they’re incredibly faithfully rendered and well worth watching.

  4. JB says:

    Extremely annoying and tiresome background music ruined this video for me. Music shuld be turned down, and sound effects up.

    Apart from that, well done, but as said a little too long. It starts very well building som tension/interest, but once the fighting starts there’s nothing new really happening.

  5. Gahazakul says:

    There is a gentlemen called myndflame who makes warcraft machinima, and it is genuinely hilarious.

    That’s his page. The site itself is covered in great machinima as well.

    Learn2play is great, as well as the “Illegal Danish” two parter.

  6. neolith says:

    Well, actually this is not Machinima since it’s not in the game engine itself. This video was created with a 3d animation software like max or Maya and uses extracted geometry and textues.

    That being said I think that the movie and the amount of custom animation in it is nothing short than amazing!

  7. Telas says:

    As a craft, this is amazing. I really appreciate the intricacies of the swordplay and close-in fighting. The modeling work must have taken hours to show that level of detail.

    As art, however, this really doesn’t register. The music really doesn’t work for me, the style isn’t my cup of tea, and the “let’s stand around and come at her one by one” cliche actually made me LOL.

  8. fish_head says:

    Interesting I guess, but I found the video too dark (yes, she’s attacking at night, I know). It was hard to follow the action watching only silhouettes. I don’t think twenty sided’s bright white background helped either (yes I know I can switch themes).

  9. Rhykker says:

    I rather enjoyed this, despite the author’s blatant disregard for his audience’s ear drums. That music was infuriatingly appalling. It saddens me to say, however, that this is by no means atypical – so often do I see an otherwise good piece of video-craftsmanship sullied by the author’s self-indulgence.

    “Well,” said author muses, “if I find this song splendidly charming, so will my googly-eyed, slack-jawed audience.”

    What’s made worse, in this case, is the fact that our eardrums are not being made victims to the generic contemporary bland alternative one-hit-wonder rock music that plagues the local radio airwaves (which we’ve grown accustomed to enduring), but some eclectic piece that has a niche audience and cannot possibly have widespread appeal.

    Yes, the song is called “Hide & Seek.” We get it. Bravo.

    Yes, horns play in the song at the same time as the soldiers blow their horns. We get it. It was novel for the first seven seconds.

    If WarCraft ambient background music had continued to play throughout the entire video, this could have been a great piece of cinematography. As it stands, I don't quite know what to make of it ““ is it a pretentious music video for the song? Or is it a pretentious movie that sells itself as an advertisement for the song? The problem is that the author put the focus on the song ““ the *worst* part of the video.

    The issue with making a song the central focus of a video is that it's a lose-lose situation; everyone has their own (terrible) taste in music, so you cannot please everyone ““ you can only alienate and dissolve away your audience.


  10. Krellen says:

    I liked the music.

  11. guy says:

    I disliked the music.

    Also the way the spellcaster stood around doing nothing, to the point where i wondered if she was supposed to be a staff-ninja.

  12. Glyph says:

    If only WoW had lighting effects like that at night…

  13. A different Dan says:

    Done with 3DSMax and a combination of AfterEffects and Sony Vegas.

    (he said authoritatively, having read the author’s descriptionhere)

  14. neminem says:

    I’m going with “I liked the music” as well. Way better than if the original music had played (let’s face it; WoW’s music wasn’t all that amazing. Way worse than the WC2 and SC OSTs, which had actual personality). Impressively enough, I actually got to a new video before Shamus did – I saw it yesterday. So I can comment without watching it again, yay!

    I’d seen some pretty great machinima, but this is certainly up there. Course, being a WoW geek, and with a rogue as my main, I was sad we didn’t see more actual rogue abilities in the fight (most notably: there wasn’t actually any use of Blind, in a movie called “Blind” – what’s up with that?), but it was still pretty great.

  15. Johannes says:

    Actually, I found the music refreshing (and yes, more or less fun, though a bit boring in the long run). A nice change from the oh-so-cliché orchestral scores, which are so often used in fantasy-like environments (as if classical-ish, ‘olden’ music has juuuust the right age to be featured in fantasy). Oh, and I found the horns-play-at-the-horns-shots somewhat fun, even if they were repeated often.

    Just goes to show that tastes indeed seem to differ. :)

    By the way, me likes this kind of clip, just because they’re so pompous and feature a nice amount of eye-candy – enough to spend 5 minutes of time that would have been wasted anyway. Anyone care to tell me were one typically finds such sources of entertainment?

    [edit]3rd one to positively comment on the music, I see…[/edit]

  16. Kiwipolish says:

    The first time I watched it I didn’t notice the constant camera cuts – the artist must have used those to handle what would be an otherwise onerous and tedious animation process. Interesting to see.

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only person who liked the music.

  17. MintSkittle says:

    I’m surprised no one posted a link to Lit Fuse Films yet, so…

    There’s some good stuff there.

  18. Zukhramm says:

    Zinwrath is still the best WoW movie.

    This movie just makes me sad that I can’t actually do anything like that in game.

    The fights are nice but I’d like to know why the blood elf is randomly slaughtering Stormwind guards.

  19. acronix says:

    Slaughtering random guards looks cool, that´s why she kills them. We could argue that the elf is trying to make a distraction or something…But I´m sure it´s just because of the cool factor.

  20. Kanthalion says:

    Zukhramm, I may be wrong, but I got the impression that the Priest was the Blood Elf’s target. Of course, in the end she failed in her mission, but I suppose she did thin Stormwind’s ranks a bit…and she did get out alive. Maybe she can kill some of the naked idiots in Goldshire on her way back to Horde Territory.

  21. Derek K. says:

    She’s a blood elf. They do stuff like that. It’s why no one likes them.

  22. I liked it, obviously as I’ve already linked it in my own LJ. The music I’ll admit was a little out of place at first, but once I understood the video was built around the music I found that I was able to enjoy it. To each their own /shrug.

    guy: The staff ninja is actually a major lore character, Lady Prestor. That she doesn’t do anything more than defend herself (not that she needs to) is very much in character. Those wings were not illusion or spell.

    Like the music, the video is pretty niche interest as far as that goes, but the quality is amazing and should certainly be shared. Hopefully the guy learns from the criticism and does more with a wider audience acceptance. For a first time production, this was outstanding.

  23. Michael Schmahl says:

    @fish_head: The contrast is much better on the Vimeo video, and it’s much easier to see what’s going on.

  24. Boolean says:

    One day, I’d like to see a movie like this wherein we see the mooks actually making a decent showing of themselves before they get tossed aside. These are people who are supposedly trained to protect their charge, and not die from a single swing of the sword each!

    Yeah, I get that this is supposed to show that the lone attacker is so much more powerful than a batallion of guardsmen, and thus someone to be feared. But this is one trope that’s been devalued from overuse, and doesn’t have the intended effect. We’ve seen this show before, and we know they might as well have those weebly inflatable punching bags as guards, for all the showing they’ll make for themselves.

    With that off my chest, I do think it was well executed. The animation was fluid and realistic. I find a lot of “homemade” CG animation to have subtle fluidity issues that spoil the effect, perhaps the kinetic equivalent of the uncanny valley. But this one doesn’t suffer from that at all.

    And I didn’t mind the music, but found it superfluous. Good job on synchronizing the horns, now maybe put some of the action in time with the drum beats. Or maybe don’t drown out the action with the music.

  25. Stormcaller says:

    Boolean: With my main (a mage) I know that I could two shot the non-elite guards in Stormwind, and this was before i got to level 80. I would expect that any class with the best gear available should be able to single hit kill any non-elite guard – considering that they are only level 75.

    If that section of Stormwind is full of elite guards then i guess it is a different matter, im not entirely sure – i only visit that city as part of raids :)

  26. MadTinkerer says:

    My favorite Machinima group is Lit Fuse Films.

    EDIT: Doh! Missed Mintskittle’s reply.

  27. Captain Fong the Ninja Pirate says:

    Damn, that’s some good animation tools at work. Haven’t seen work that good since that Tales of the Past 3 machinima.

  28. ShadowDragon8685 says:

    It was absoloutely great, right up until the minute the song started.

    Then it got bad.

    Then the ninja showed up, and it got godawful.

    Stormwind’s guards are all level 75. Prince Arthas, the Lich King himself, would have a difficult time soloing that many Stormwind guards. (To say nothing of the swarms of players who’d be showing up just to take a shot at him.)

    When the movie started, I thought it was going to be a movie about the heroic guards tracking down a murderer. Then, like the Inverse Ninja Law became the Inverse Stormwind Guard Law, a lot of them showed up, and they became helpless mooks, such as not putting their shields up when the ninja buzz-saws towards them and laughing as her blades deflect harmlessly off their steel.

    So, yeah, the best part of the movie was the part before the song started, and it just turned to shit when the ninja showed up. It got to be fucking godawful when the SECOND ninja showed up, and then the priestess who didn’t hand out some wrath to the ninja bitch, instead being simply a “staff ninja” (who wields her staff in the most godawful way imaginable) who grows bigass wings.

  29. LintMan says:

    The song itself was OK, but didn’t really fit in the mood of what the story was showing. I expected the soldiers to break out into a choreographed dance routine any second.

    The excessive wire-fu is what put me off the most I rolled my eyes when the two fighters did that locked blade spin in the air move copied from Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. The wire-fu works in that movie, but most of the time it just looks ridiculous to me.

  30. Arson55 says:

    I agree with LintMan on pretty much all points.

  31. brashieel says:

    On a technical level, that was amazing. The animation/lighting effects/et al were great. And syncing up the horns was a nice tough.

    As for the actual action, I would have liked it more if the rogue had actually sneaked in, as opposed to casually tossing around elite platemail wearing guards in the most cliche way imaginable. The wire-fu did anything but help in that department.

  32. Ravens_cry says:

    Way too dark, and the music was the kind that sticks in your head, in the bad way. More long rambling posts, please! I watch youtube, I know youtube. I come here for in depth posts on topics that interests me. I love your blog Shamus, I want to hear from you.

  33. Joshua says:

    Nicely done animation, but the song is horrible and I’m not a fan of the whole Ninja thing. Especially one where the Ninja takes on a whole cadre of guards in a frontal assault. Even more where she moves so much faster than them like she’s Trinity from the Matrix.

    I’ll agree that the introductory part where they’re investigating the scene of a crime was the cool part, until the song started.

  34. Krellen says:

    @Zukhramm, #18: Zinwrath is still the best WoW movie.
    I liked Zinwrath, but I thought Super Snacks was much much better. Something about it just clicked more.

    WoW Spoiler below:

    I didn’t realise that was Lady Prestor, but since it is, she’s not a “staff ninja”, or a spell-caster. She’s a dragon. (Onyxia, to be precise). Knowing that makes the whole sequence with her make much more sense. I guess the Blood Elf figured she could get some free phat loot by soloing Onyxia in human form.

  35. Ouch, the music is awful.

  36. SolkaTruesilver says:

    I think the Blood Elves was sent there to make a point to Stormwind’s governement. The Priest was obviously way too powerful for her to handle, but she shown that she can get to the heart of Azeroth, reach the Leader, and get out.

    That ninja is probably a powerful bishop in the political chess game played between factions, that’s all. You know, sometimes failing an assassination attemps is better than succeeding.

    I wonder if the Azeroth Ninja would have been able to beat her in a 1 on 1 fight, if he had tried to pursue her…

  37. Big D says:

    I didn’t like the song, and thought that it detracted from the overall impact.

    Plotwise, it makes a lot more sense to a WoW player. I don’t think I’m exactly spoiling anything (if for no other reason then because others have already mentioned it) in saying that the elf is there to kill the regent of Stormwind, Lady Prestor, who is really Onyxia, a very power and evil dragon in disguise. That’s why the whole part about the soldiers being blinded and her bringing out her wings matters.

    From a technical standpoint, it was pretty good… certainly the most impressive part was the use of the WoW models in some kind of animation software.

  38. Kevin says:

    Another reason I wish I had my own videogame, just so people like this could make awesome machanima from it!

  39. xbolt says:

    Hmm… I think I’m going to side with the ‘I liked the music’ crowd on this one. That style isn’t normally my thing, but I liked it well enough for this movie.

    I dunno, maybe I was just too overawed by the technological achievement to think about the music. ;D

    I would post a link to LitFuseFilms, (my personal favorite machinima group,) but that’s already been done.

  40. Khoram says:

    Geez louise, some of you people amaze me. You come off sounding like clones of the Comic Book Guy: “an interesting video… however, I shall deduct a full six points from my rating because I find fault with the choice of music.”

    It’s an amazing video technically, it’s fun in terms of the music and all the “cliches” that so many of you put it down for, and the lore behind Lady Prestor/Onyxia just makes the whole thing even better.

    Who cares what level the soldiers in Stormwind in the game are? That’s a meta-game artifact to keep every bored 12 year old from destroying every city every day. If you step back and think about the game as a world for a second, if Stormwind was filled with hundreds of 75+ elite guards, why the hell would they need little lowly player adventurers to do anything? Guards in the real world wouldn’t be the bestest of the best (although, you might wonder about the royal guard… those would probably be a cut or two above your average flunky guard).

    I think we’re all over-analyzing the thing if we get beyond “Wow, that looks awesome and took a lot of talent and work!”

  41. Mike Wilson says:

    I’ve gotta say the music worked perfectly for me with the slight exception of the intro to the tune.

    Awesome work.

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