Category Archives: News

New Little Goth Girl animation

The new Little Goth Girl animation is online:

Little Goth Girl – Open Mike Night

I’m quite impressed, this took just under two weeks to make. Mixing the soundtrack actually took about six hours in the end. It’s amazing how long something like that takes! My microphone appears to have nearly given up the ghost, so I spent quite a lot of time trying to boost the volume without destroying fidelity. It’s perhaps a little quiet, but I really couldn’t amp it any more otherwise there was too much distortion. I’ve got some nice ambient effects in the background which people probably won’t notice, but I’m happy that they’re there!

Six hours on the sound… I hate to think how long these things take to make. I’ve given up keeping track!

I’m rather pleased with the look of this one. There is a nice 3D feel to it, but it was all done by hand. There is some use of standard perspective on the front of the club and a huge amount of motion-tweening plus some shape-tweening to achieve the on-stage camera pan. The results look really nice, I think, but so they should for the time that they take!

Some good news for fans of Mittens and Samurai Lapin: the chaps doing the merchandise for me have agreed to produce some things with these characters on. They’re playing it safe for the moment with the designs I was using before, but if you missed them when I was running my shop then you’ll have another chance by the end of the year.

‘Hope you like it!

LGG soon + photos


Fluffy signets. Aww!

Guess where I went earlier?

Click for bigger

I’ve never been to Stonehenge before, but myself and friends were nearby earlier today (well… that should be ‘yesterday’ as I’m typing this at just gone 1am) so I figured that now would be a good time. It was disappointing to not be able to go closer to the stones, but also understandable, there were hundreds of people there.

The heaviest stone weighs over 40 tonnes and had been transported over 200 miles around 5000 years ago, that’s about the same weight as seven elephants, and stone is considerably more stubborn when you’re trying to get it to move. At least elephants can be bribed when, for example, you need to get them out of your mini. Goodness knows how they moved those rocks. It’s seriously impressive stuff, but loses some of the impact for you not being able to stand among them. It’s a bit like having a cathedral and never being allowed to go inside. I feel a bit better about myself for having seen it now. It’s one of those things that is part of Britain but you just never really get around to going to see. I really should go back to the Tower of London at some point.

I think when you live in a place it’s easy to not bother appreciating the things that you have around you and Stonehenge has been on my list for a long time of ‘things that I really should see’. That’s one more thing that I’ve done now!

Myself, Sues, and a friend called Sarah recorded the voice-over for the new Little Goth Girl episode on Friday. I’ll be spending most of tomorrow working on editting that down to usable sections (we were laughing rather a lot). I think it’s going to be good! I’ve still not decided on what music to use yet. There won’t be a continual soundtrack, but a few little bits here-and-there will add to the piece I think.

‘Hope you’re all having good weekends!

Façade + News

This sounds like an interesting experiment: Façade: a one-act interactive drama

Essentially it’s a 15 minute drama where the characters have AI and language recognition so they will adapt their behaviour to your input. I’ve emailed them to request a copy. I’ll let you know when I’ve had a go on it.

The new Little Goth Girl episode is progressing well. I’m not likely to make my hoped task of finishing it within a week of starting it, which would be tomorrow, but it is quite far along. The scenes will look quite simple when they’re done, but they have some nice small details and it’s adding those that takes the time. Anyway, I’m thinking that it will be ready by Monday next week. It probably won’t have a soundtrack, or at most it will be minimal music, so that helps speed-up the post-animation time.

I’m having a meeting with my tutors about the most recent chapter of my thesis tomorrow. I’m a little nervous because I wrote it using the Mind Manager software to help me arrange my ideas, so the flow might be different to previous chapters. I think it’s good, but I’ll soon know their impressions.

Digi-Shakespeare: back on form

hat wish proud second pronunciation occasion
convenient independent
latter miles seven

I think that’s got to be one of the best so far. For some reason there’s a feeling of sadness about it.

Maybe the reason I like these things is that the idea of finding beauty in odd places appeals to me. I don’t think that the universe we live in often gives us good reasons for the way things happen. People struggle through their lives and die unexpectedly, and part of being human is trying to make sense of it all. I don’t pretend to have the answers, and I’ve not heard any convincing ones suggested yet, but for me seeing beauty in the eye of the storm is what makes it worthwhile.

‘Drafting done of chapter’ and ‘I’m still skint’

It’s a smidgen over 12k words, and I’m very pleased with it. In the end I decided when to stop by thinking ‘oo, that would make a good conclusion sentence’ then chopping off everything after it. This also leaves me with a rather tasty set of five pages of quotes left to put into my introduction chapter. Hurrah! I’ve now got a long weekend of editting to do, to try and get the grammar up to scratch… Which is pretty time consuming, but at least the draft is written.

In other news: I’m going to be remaining skint for a little while yet. There were high hopes for getting the Little Goth Girl merchandise picked up in the US, but it seems that due to all the problems with trading with China (where it’s made) no-one wants to commit to anything. Bah humbug.

I don’t think I have the time to do this until I finish my PhD, but I may well be reopening my onsite-shop and selling the merchandise myself. I get quite a few emails from people in the US, so there are definitely nice people over there who want these things, but getting it to them is proving rather challenging. If this does happen it most likely won’t be until the new year, so don’t go holding your breath if you’re among the people that this affects!

Feed The Nine-Mouthed Baby

I’m guessing that many of the people on here might not have seen this early game that I made:

Feed the Nine-Mouthed Baby

If you’re a person who knows a bit of programming in Flash you might be surprised to hear that almost the entire thing is driven by the timeline and not actionscript.

This was back in the days when programming something like my hedgehog game would have been completely beyond me, so I put all of the sound files on the timeline with a frame name then animated the mouth over the right place.

I found that the dropTarget command wouldn’t recognise a movie clip, for some reason, so all of the mouth movements are animated individually from their graphic instances.

Each of these one-phrase sections then only had one draggable object, the one being asked for. These days I would use an ‘if’ loop to make the correct object draggable, but this was the only way I knew at the time.

I then had a couple of simple scripts running, one to generate a random number between one and nine for the movie to know which one-line section to play, another for a timer, and another for the end of the timer to judge whether enough objects had been correctly fed.

Sometimes old methods can be the most effective! If you’re making something in Flash don’t always be obsessed with doing it the most technical way, sometimes a bit of the old-fashioned skills such as timeline tweening can be equally effective in achieving the results you want.

The Brave Duckling

Okay, the music for the new Mittens is taking longer than expected, so here’s another quickie:

The Brave Duckling

I could do with as many hits as possible at the moment, so please pass this on to friends who you think might like it.

As a tip for anyone who might be wondering how to get the ‘wobbly outline’ effect I’ve used in this animation, rather than drawing the whole thing twice simply add a new keyframe in the timeline of the object, select the lines you want to wobble then use Modify>Shape>Optimise… . Have a look to see how many curves it alters and adjust the optimisation to fit with the look you want. If you don’t like it youcan always Ctrl+Z back and try again.


There’s an interesting quote from page two of this article:

Gay men have fewer children, meaning that in Darwinian terms, any genetic variant that promotes homosexuality should be quickly eliminated from the population. Dr. Hamer believes that such genes may nevertheless persist because, although in men they reduce the number of descendants, in women they act to increase fertility.

After the post about social evolution’s purpose for gay people a few days ago I thought it was quite an interesting theory, and not one I’ve heard before.

On the subject of real hackers versus script kiddies, and the way that many people don’t know the difference:

“It was inconvenient,” she said of the loss of her e-mail, “and it’s the thing that seems to happen when you have malicious teenage hackers running around with no sense of ethics.”

From the end of this article. ‘Malicious’ and ‘hacker’ are technically contradictions, but that’s just the way that people are changing the use of the word. Apparently hackers are terrorists too, according to the Bush administration, which is amusing because it means that they should go and arrest the majority of the leaders in technology, including Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Bush himself is attempting to hack the social system of the planet and rewire it the way he wants, maybe we should arrest him too?

Actually, that’s not a bad idea…

RSS feed now available!

Okay folks. I’m pretty new to this stuff too, so for beginners here’s what RSS is about:

Essentially it is a system of keeping track of information from sites that you like. You get a small summary scrolling along the bottom of the page telling you what the new stuff is on the site. In other words, it’s quite handy.

I keep mine scrolling on The Register, which is a great site for slightly techie news and usually fairly liberal ideas. It’s a bit UK-centric, but picks up on stories from all over the world. One that’s caught my eye today is this Dino missing link about a link in the evolutionary chain being filled. Ya boo sucks to evolutionists, or whatever it is the Americans say… My point is that I probably wouldn’t have visited the site and found a story that I’m actually very interested in, and that’s the point of RSS.

So, I know you’re begging to know, how do I get RSS working?

Well, I use Firefox to browse the web (more on that in a future post I’m sure) so I use this extension:


They even provide it at a nice https domain too. Aren’t they good? It runs along the bottom of your browser window. Here’s one for your weird Internet Explorer people:


I have no idea if that’s any good because, like I say, I use Firefox so don’t need it.

Anyway, while looking at my blog, click whatever you need to to add RSS feeds and they should automatically pick up the options on my page. With the Firefox extension that I linked to, the way to do this is click the little orange square with white swooshes at the bottom of your screen near the RSS feed. You’ll get a few options; I suggest using the RSS 2.0, which is the feed of posts I make, but there’s one on there for comments too, and another one using Atom, which I have no idea about but it came with the software so I’ll leave it on 🙂

So, that’s RSS. Isn’t it nice?

Three posts in one day. This blogging thing could be addictive.

[additional note: while writing this I have drunk a very tasty bottle of ale, and only now noticed that it was 6.4% alcohol, so now my fingers have gone slightly tingly]

Clive the Giant Amoeba

This was actually going to be just a short picture of an awkward situation. The idea initially was to illustrate the problems of multi-species alien ballroom dancing.

Now I put it like that, it sounds very odd. It made perfect sense when I was thinking about it in the shower this morning.

Anyway, I worked with the idea for a while, trying to work out the best way to get the situation across as fast as possible in one image. I then decided that perhaps it would be better to have a few frames, those frames then led to the short poem, which led to the very silly animation. Have fun with Clive the Giant Amoeba!

Hello world

So, I’ve eventually decided to get up to speed with the whole blog thing. Is this a good idea in the last year of writing a PhD? Meh… Who knows?

What is likely to be turning up here:

  • Occasional silly pictures that I make
  • Stuff about animation, and using Macromedia Flash in particular
  • Maybe some things about trying to write a thesis
  • Things that might be of interest about the background workings of this kind of site
  • Anything I think might be interesting to anyone else
  • Anything I fancy, because I can.

So, current top things that have been of interest to me: this blog! It’s using WordPress 1.5, and frankly was very easy to set up… I mean, it was seriously easy to get going. Put up a database, tell the config where to find it, then upload the files… And that’s pretty much it! I’m using a customised version of the Tridarkness template, which I’ve obviously altered to make it match the format of the rest of my site. You’d need a bit of CSS knowledge to fiddle with the templates, but there are loads around if you don’t fancy making your own.

I’m interested to hear what anyone else thinks should be on here, so login and drop me a comment. I should probably mention now, all comments will be moderated before appearing on this site, so keep it clean and use your common sense about whether I’ll put it up! If I end up getting loads of comments then I will eventually start only approving the best comments, but I seriously doubt that’s going to be a problem for a while!

For anyone out there interested in new things happening with Flash, check out some of the new features that will be turning up in 8ball and Maelstrom, the next versions of Macromedia’s Flash authoring software and Flash player. Frankly, it’s amazing. I can’t wait to get my hands on it! It really looks like the web is finally catching up with animator’s wish-lists.

Don’t forget, if you want to ask questions and have a discussion then the forums are still the best place to reach me, there’s a link on the right under ‘links’->

See you around!