Attending Anime North 2017? Great! We’ll be there too!
Like last year, our producer and some of the animators will be on site for a meet and greet at booth IA19. Also returning are the life size Aria and Ed banners, along with some never before seen footage of our favorite characters.
Drop by and say hi!
We are proud to announce that Faceware Technologies is now supporting the project and providing us access to their world class facial motion capture solution! With it, we’re now able to deliver more emotionally expressive characters and vastly improve the visual experience.
For those of you who don’t know. This is the same facial mocap stuff that’s used in a lot of well known productions for both video games and film. We are very grateful to be one of the few independent projects fortunate enough to have been given this opportunity and I would very much like to thank the folks at Faceware Technologies for giving us that opportunity! You guys rock!
We’ll hopefully have a demo ready to showcase our usage of the tech soon but for now you can get a taste of what this tech can do in their demo reel:
Maybe next year we’ll be part of that demo!
WE MADE IT!!!
31 August 2016 – The Abyssian Knights campaign comes to a close with 106% of our initial funding goal. We couldn’t have done it without the support of all our backers! Over the next few weeks while we continue to get animation and models ready, we will also be handling the post-campaign stuff which includes putting together the backer support/pledge management system through Backerkit and implementing a slacker backer system for all those of you who missed the campaign.
Thank you all for helping making this happen!
August 1st, 2016 1900 EDT – People we are now LIVE on Kickstarter!!! We have a couple of surprises in store that we haven’t announced yet but the project is now live on Kickstarter and we need your help to make this project happen!! If you’re a fan of fighting combat driven anime, Asian action movies or just stories with a twist, this is for you!
If you’re not completely sold on the project it’s OK. If you’re willing to buy us a drink to say “hey, good work keep it up!”, you can do it on Kickstarter at the “Buy us a drink” tier. We’ll send you a picture of us enjoying that drink in appreciation.
If you’re strapped for cash and can’t afford it right now, don’t worry because Kickstarter unlike Indiegogo doesn’t actually charge you until the project funds which is in 30 days. You can back today and not pay a dime until the campaign ends and ONLY if it succeeds. So please help us hit our goal!!
With the Kickstarter going live in a couple of months, we’ve updated the look and feel of the project website. Just to get some content on the website, since we’re taking a bit longer than anticipated to get a new teaser/trailer out, our producer has OK’d us to temporarily upload the teaser and tech demo we had done previously for Anime North 2016. So enjoy it while it’s live!! ’cause it’s most likely going to be hidden away into our digital vaults once the proper trailer/teasers are out.
It’s been over a week since Anime North and almost a month since Anime Central. So here at the office, we decided to look into our website analytic data to see who our visitors are. Going through the logs, it appears we’ve caught the attention from some interesting people.
If you’re part of any of these companies listed above, we’d love to get in contact with you!!
[ To the folks from the US Army, US Navy & the Dept of Defense ]
If you’re looking into this website in case we’re some weird terrorist group or some other new world order thing. Here are some things we’d like to disclose to help make your job easier.
[ The the various folks from the Universities ]
We are huge supporters of higher education and campus life(read: parties, drinking and anime clubs). If you guys wants stickers and stuff to plaster around your campus, just ask. If you’re part of an anime club, let us know!!!
[ To the folks from Ford Motor Company and Daimler AG ]
If you guys wants us give us a company car with our characters on it, we’d be more than happy to represent 😉
[ To the handful of people from the United States Postal Service ]
We love you folks. Even though we’re in Canada, we get plenty of stuff that go through you!
[ To Google, Amazon, Microsoft, YouTube, NCR ]
You guys are awesome. If any of you are interested in flat out buying us or just picking up the web series/game for something… we’re all ears 😀 Alternatively, if you just want to offer us free stuff we’d be down for that as well!
[ To the folks using the Master Key Effects North network ]
We’re downstairs. No literally, we’re on the 2nd floor below you guys if you didn’t know. However… I thought you guys closed shop? Are we being visited by the ghost of Master Key Effects? Or you the new guys that took over the lease? Either way, we should go for a beer or two.
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that wished there was more content on the AK website. The good news is that there is more stuff coming. This includes character artwork, the Key Visual, a re-cut teaser as well as a proper trailer highlighting the kind of combat sequences you can expect from the series.
We’re currently putting together stuff for the Kickstarter launch which is slated to happen in August. However, since resources are limited due to everyone having real jobs and for the most part can only work on this project in our spare time, some of the things we’re planning on rolling out is going to take a bit more time to get ready.
I know some of you were pretty hyped up about the project after seeing the tech demo preview at Anime North and were hoping to get some more content here on the site. Getting you folks some content is of highest priority right now but I want to make sure you folks get something good, so please bear with us!
PS: The high resolution close ups that were promised of the character designs for our cosplay friends should be ready in a couple of days.
Abyssian Knights Project
Unreal Engine 4.12 was just formally released and along with it comes the new sequencer. This replaces the old Matinee system that we built the original tech demo for Anime North with. This new tool means we’ll need to relearn how we put things together. Pretty sure anyone who’s ever worked with the Matinee system in UE4 knows how painful it can be to work with at times. So while learning how to properly make use of the new sequencer is going to cause a minor in production, it should help us improve the flow of everything overall.
(Benchmarks from Cinebench R15)
Compiling code or shaders and building lighting always takes up a long time. While for a project like AK, it’s not that bad having to wait a minute or two every couple of minutes when tweaking shaders but having to rebuild the lighting at the production spec is a huge pain. Thanks to some friends in the High Performance Computing space(read: super computers), we’ve managed to acquire a used chip which would nicely upgrade the primary machine we use for development (which is the same one we plan on doing the final output rendering on).
The new chip cuts our wait times down to about 1/3 the time it did on the Intel 5820k we were using before. That means the time we waste waiting for builds has been down down dramatically.
To improve our lighting build times even more, we’ve also managed to get the Unreal Engine 4 Swarm working across a couple of machines. If things work out the way we hope it will, we’ll be able to get the swarm running on the render farm we have here at our office. It’ll be nice to be able to rebuild production spec lighting at preview speeds.
Why is this important? Less down time means more time for us to work on stuff.
Finally got around to getting Abyssian Knights formally copyrighted and the AK logo formally trademarked (or at least we started the formal process for it all). It’s actually totally unnecessary for us (or anyone) to go through these steps to copyright or trademark stuff and it really doesn’t mean much in the end. We did it to solidify that Abyssian Knights is a long term franchise that we hope to keep going for a while and that we’re not some fly-by-night operation that’s going to vanish on anyone.
Well.. that and it’ll be nice to legally use the © and TM symbols next to our stuff. It’s like we’re professionals or something!