As spring semester starts up, I've come to the conclusion that I really don't have the time, manpower or resources to create my original capstone idea. I've opted instead to create a series of smaller machinima experiments instead. I've only come up with a few ideas at first, but I hope that through discussion with other machinima-related forums (like those at Litfusefilms.com) I can come up with some others as well. I'll probably look into the various filming techniques used in older movies (before most of the digital stuff that most movies have today) to see if there's any other kind of interesting things to experiment with in a game engine.
So far, I have two main ideas in mind:
Real-Life Actor vs Digitally Replicated Actor
The basic idea for this experiment would be to test the boundaries and capabilities of the Source SDK program Faceposer. I'm going to talk to some friends who are in the Theather department, and see if any of them would be interested in doing a monologue or something. I'd record it with a camera, later seperate the audio, and then see if I can replicate the actor's expressions and body language using a character from Half Life 2. The ultimate goal will be to see just how close to a digital performance I can script based off a live performance.I'm also going to look into reskinning the game model to look like the live-action actor in question.
Machinima Movie Scene
Although my film's currently out of my capabilities right now, I'm looking at least attempting to create one of the scenes from the original script. I'm currently looking at the opening sequence, which details an assassin escaping from a pursuing helicopter across the roofs of a cyberpunk/Blade Runner-inspired cityscape (though it's probably not nearly as dramatic as it sounds). It'll be a chance for me to experiment with scripted sequences in Hammer, and possibly a chance to create some original content in the XSI Mod Tool that Softimage offers.