Principal Photography Begins

So after a bunch of prep work (that I still have not finished), I decided to start the long but fun task of making pictures for the sequel, and thought I’d share the first two.  One of the pictures I changed in the 7.1 date was the picture of driving up to the restaurant downtown.  There is now a bar behind the restaurant with big windows so that people in the restaurant can see into the bar and vice versa.  Scene 2 of the sequel starts in that bar.  (Scene 1 is talking to Ariane on the telephone, and I have no clue yet how to make that visually interesting).

Anyways, as you can tell from the picture above, Ariane has a slightly different look.   Not only does she have a new outfit (I was getting tired of the red top black pants and basic black dress) but a new haircut.  The hair I used in the first game (Kyoko Hair MK3) was a freebie available online at the time. The style is all over the web, so I upgraded.  Ariane is still based on Victoria 3, but the other 3 models behind her are Victoria 4 based.

The other major change is evident if you click on the picture above and see the full sized version.  The first game pictures had 800 x 500 resolution, the new one is 1280 x 720.  In other words, I’m going from standard-def to high-def, requiring better renders and more attention to details.  This means longer render times, in fact I wrote this post while waiting for a picture to render.

I’m trying really hard to avoid spoilers, so I am strictly talking about production. I guess I can let it slip that the 3 women in the background each have a role in the plot, as does the baseball game on TV.  The baseball game is tricky to write about in the script, as I never say what city the game is set in, and therefore I also can’t mention the name of the local team, or who they are playing.  This also avoids any trademark issues with major league baseball.

This second image is a major accomplishment.  Based on the angle of the picture, I knew I would be looking at the windows into the restaurant.  To make things more difficult, it was established in the first game that the restaurant itself is surrounded by windows looking out onto the busy downtown shopping district. And to make things even more difficult, the reason why you are in the bar in the first place is because every table in the restaurant is full, which means I had to fill every visible seat.  There is also now a 5th person in the bar as well, you can see the back of some guys head talking to the blonde girl you may recognize as the owner of the strip club.

The only way I could do a complicated picture like this was in pieces.  I did the foreground with five people, and the windows were just blank.  I then created the background from the set I created for the first game.  Matching up the camera angles so that they look like the same set was a little tricky.  I found a way to create a bunch of “extras” which is what you see walking on the sidewalk in the far background.

I hope these extras are useful enough to fill a “crowded movie theater” as that is the next scene I have to work on.  Like I said previously, I am doing this production the same way Hollywood produces movies.  I did not write the script with visual logistics in mind, and figured I’d worry about that later, so now I have to worry about it.  Of course in Hollywood, the script changes when the production gets complicated.  Maybe if the “crowded movie theater” is too difficult to do, maybe it will become a theater that is too dark to see anyone.

I think I will stop there before I give away the plot.


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