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MASSFORGE: By Your Command!

DISINTEGRATE!
      You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
   Everything is fodder!

OK, now that I got your attention with some evil robot and cyborg quotes:
As many of you may know, MASSIVE, the artificial life-based multi-agent simulation system developed by Stephen Regulous and used in Peter Jackson's recent films of The Lord of The Rings, now licenses for $18000.

This cost, while perhaps reasonable for your typical studio, is rather prohibitive for some independent filmmakers and most amateur fan film producers, even those who would gladly shell out a few hundred dollars for Maya (or use Blender). Seeing as Jackson was touted as having opened new horizons "beyond Hollywood" with the LoTR movies, I thought we might go one better and think about bringing MASSIVE to the masses. Or, to be less patent-infringey, as Willow might say: bringing large-scale A-life, agent management, herding, and hierarchical character and population modeling for photorealistic CGA to the desktop, or a render farm near you.

So... without further ado: What do you all think of an open-source, production-quality CG agents package? Would you join a dev team for such a project if, say, there were a few developers (promising students, for example) working on the infrastructure?

Transform and roll out!

--
Banazir

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
zengeneral
Mar. 4th, 2005 05:00 am (UTC)
open-source, production-quality CG agents
NO!

if strictly closed source with an NDA to do free dev/licensing, then fine...
banazir
Mar. 4th, 2005 06:14 am (UTC)
Compromise, then
Why strictly closed as opposed to a limited nonprofit use license?
I'm not saying LPGL necessarily, but you name it...

Berkeley Artistic?
Custom zengeneral? (Something tells me that involves unsavory favors and chili... or unsavory favors with chili...)

--
Banazir
zengeneral
Mar. 4th, 2005 06:31 am (UTC)
Re: Compromise, then
or unsavory favors with chili.

... you know me too well... thats scary...
banazir
Mar. 4th, 2005 07:12 am (UTC)
You have not yet begun to fear
You've hardly started to be scared of me, laddie...

--
Banazir
vajrahridaya
Mar. 4th, 2005 05:01 am (UTC)
this sounds really cool. hope you do it.

as a demo and practical test application, what about trying to tie this into co-open-publishing producing some super-duper animated startrek episodes, especially if the enterprise revival effort doesn't fly.

surely, the global trek community could pull that off -- lot of peoplepower for the programming to in that, eh?
banazir
Mar. 5th, 2005 04:12 am (UTC)
Open video?
this sounds really cool. hope you do it.
Thanks! I've decided that I will.

as a demo and practical test application, what about trying to tie this into co-open-publishing producing some super-duper animated startrek episodes, especially if the enterprise revival effort doesn't fly.
I mentioned this to my CGI/CGA class today and there was some interest.
Pure animation is difficult, though, as witnessed by The Animatrix and Clone Wars.

surely, the global trek community could pull that off -- lot of peoplepower for the programming to in that, eh?
I suppose. You'd be surprised how little interest there is in producing open content as opposed to open source (the art and photo communities notwithstanding).

--
Banazir
vajrahridaya
Mar. 5th, 2005 04:51 am (UTC)
Re: Open video?
Thanks! I've decided that I will.

wonderful!

mentioned this to my CGI/CGA class today and there was some interest.
Pure animation is difficult...


but consider the global talent pool

You'd be surprised how little interest there is in producing open content as opposed to open source

what about wikipedia?
there is not lack of interest in generating articles there. the thing is to...

break it down: perhaps invite groups work on the fav characters and scenes/worlds -- modularize those over into multiple scenarios/stories. one could make it a role playing game (open source) that works through very sophisticated avatars, which just happens to double as world creation for animated films, shorts at first. (i guess this would almost be creating the framework for a visual aspect of cyberspace, eh)

and hey, thinking of wikipedia, write various articles about this on wikpedia -- and then link to the cyberspace and a.i. and media stories.

just keep putting the word out all over. problem: need a few organizers and editors to live with and network pieces of the project(s) and keep up directories of stuff.

um: i'm not a trek fan especially. i'm a media person. i wonder what the copyright issues are. if those aren't a problem: this just seems like a potentially very big wave that could be ridden, if consistent outreach (to trek organizers and info/news spaces) were made. if trek copyrights are an issue, there must be some themed scifi or fantasy world that is big enough to snowball with effort.
ellie_desu
Mar. 4th, 2005 06:03 am (UTC)
Had I the program skills to code beyond that of making my errors look dern pretty, I'd be happy to help.

But I do remember an interview with the dudeheads doing that program, and they showed a fight clip...everyone was running towards the whatever monster thing, except for one little dude running the other way. The reporter commented "Hey, he has the right idea!" To which the programmer grinned and said, "No, he just opted to run around the planet to get to the monter/poopie/whatever." I love that man.
banazir
Mar. 4th, 2005 06:09 am (UTC)
Cong ming fan bei cong ming wu
Cong1 ming2 fan3 bei4 cong1 ming2 wu4
(Chinese idiom, meaning "too smart for one's own good" or more literally "smart to the point of outsmarting oneself")

Someon (Regulous?) talks about it on Disk 6 of the ROTK SEE DVD. It was more of a "run from enemies you can't see".

Still, yes, it's a funny anecdote. People see AI where they want to.

--
Banazir
hempknight
Mar. 4th, 2005 10:08 am (UTC)
Do it man! This is a dream come true for people like me. I need a low-cost, efficient renderer for beeeeeg stuff! Independent filmmakers all over the world are counting on you man...don't let them down!!!

Oh, and my CG programming mad skillz are severely limited (read non-existent) but I'll be more than happy to abuse, test, and push the limits of whatever you might produce and tell you how to make it better, faster.

--
Pickles
neadods
Mar. 4th, 2005 02:04 pm (UTC)
Can't program worth beans, but if you need a tech writer to explain it when it's done, call me.
banazir
Mar. 4th, 2005 05:24 pm (UTC)
Tech writing
Thanks very much! I will definitely take you up on that some day.

BTW, we are also looking for technical writers to help with our other open source project, Bayesian Network tools in Java (BNJ). The perennial problem of people not generally being interested in documenting others' code crops up. Paying them, is, of course, the most likely viable option, but funds for documentation are endemically low (more on this later). Any ideas?

Finally, if you are interested, I'd like to invite you to join, monitor, or occasionally peruse techwriting and my community, grantwriting.

--
Banazir
neadods
Mar. 4th, 2005 06:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Tech writing
Any ideas?

None that don't involve cold hard cash at the moment. Although I am easily bribable by copies of rare documents at Harvard & Hawaii...

Have joined the Techwriting community. I used to be a techwhirler, but that got a little too drink-from-a-firehose.
sui_degeneris
Mar. 4th, 2005 03:17 pm (UTC)
My coding abilities maxed out at hangman.
(Although I did have it play taps. And I had a hand waving bye-bye at the end. Wanted to animate a butterfly, but there was too much flicker in the rendering, and by the time I realized that I needed to animate only the stuff that changes in each image, I was out of time.)

Anyway, I'm not sure how much direct help I can be, but since this sounds like a way-cool project, I will offer my services as a secondary tech writer (after neadods) and tertiary UI critic (after those who actually know how these programs should work make their comments).

I'm not volunteering her, but if you decide to do go ahead with this project, let Morveril the Lurking Nazgul know. I remember talking this over with her when the films were coming out, and she was discussing potential applications of this type of program in other areas. (The details are fuzzy. It was a while ago. And we were at the Restaurant of Many Margaritas.)
zaimoni
Mar. 5th, 2005 05:23 am (UTC)
Intriguing. [I favor open-source licenses that do not poison commercial reuse, such as the MIT license.]
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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