With the countless last-minute revisions made to episode 2, a lot has changed since our PART 1 article of making 2nd Avenue Episode 2. This new write-up is to update you on the journey that has been taken to create what is now known as, “Pwned!”
Something we never neglect to do is try and better ourselves. When going into this project, we wanted to surpass the previous episodes in every way possible – from visual design, to plot layout – we tried to improve in all areas.
Every visual aspect of 2nd Avenue was redone. When we created the previous episodes, we were still in the process of learning how to use Flash. We started out using Macromedia Flash 5 on the pilot episode, but finished with Flash Mx 2004. The pilot was done at 12 frames per second with the stage dimensions of 550×400, which are the default settings of the program. When we got to episode 1, we wanted to improve the quality by increasing the frame rate to 24 frames per second, and we focused a little more on the animation. For episode 2, our focus was on EVERYTHING. Our goal was to completely surpass the quality of its predecessors in every aspect.
This didn’t stop us from making a ton of bad decisions and costly mistakes. One of the main reasons why this episode took so long to finish was because of the many mistakes that we’ve made. The biggest being neglecting the importance of preproduction. The entire year of 2006 passed by before we were able to start working on Episode 2, so when that time came, we were extremely excited. It’s because of that excitement that we ended up skipping over so many important phases of production, and it turned out to be very costly down the line.
We took a new approach with the writing of this episode, too. We attempted a more subtle style of comedy, rather than the more random style seen in Episode 1. It came out okay, but not as great as it could have been if we stuck to our normal methods.
Originally the episode was much longer than 26 minutes. When writing the script, we wanted to have multiple happening at the same time. There were originally 3 different plots, but we eventually had to cut one out.
The deleted plot was about Boom, David, and Darrel as they attempted to set up a pool, but things weren’t as easy as they thought it would be. This plot alone could have made it’s own episode! It ran about 10 minutes by itself, and we didn’t realize it until after we recorded the audio and created the layout. Of course, preproduction would have saved us the hassle, but that’s just another one of the many lessons we’ve learned.
The opening scene with David and Darrel was originally part of the actual episode. It was the scene that led to them wanting a pool. Since we deleted that entire plot, we decided to edit the idea and turn it into something else. That of course, led to our new opening scene for the episode. The Ice Climbers was a VERY last minute idea, and it was actually the last part of the entire episode that we animated. We came up with the idea after everything else was completely finished, and it took us about 2 days to create and animate the new shots, as well as record the new audio.
For those who don’t know who the Ice Climbers are, they’re from an old Nintendo game called, “Ice Climber.” You play as Popo and Nana as they venture up ice-covered mountains to recover stolen vegetables from a giant condor. We personally never played the original NES game and didn’t learn about the characters until we played “Super Smash Bros. Melee” a few years ago.
Ken’s Ice cream Truck was originally planned to be the opening scene for this episode, but by the time we reached the layout phase of the segment, the concept had lost its flare. As we were developing it, the overall look and feel was drifting away from what we had originally envisioned. Basically, it was funnier on paper than it was in the final version.
You can check out the animatic for Ken’s Ice cream Truck here:
Call of Responsibility is a video game in the world of 2A that is based off of the actual game ‘Call of Duty’. We just changed “Duty” to “Responsibility” (for those who didn’t get it). Mind you, this was long before we knew that Call of Duty would go modern with CoD4, so our game was based off of the original CoD1, CoD2, and CoD3. Of course, the recently released CoD5 made a complete u-turn and went back to the past, which is a little confusing… but that doesn’t really apply to this, so moving on!
The game’s visuals were referenced from a completely different game called ‘Day of Defeat’, which is a mod of ANOTHER game known as ‘Half-Life’. In order to capture the footage that we needed, we created a private LAN game, used the ‘spectate’ mode to position the camera above the in-game models, and simply took the screenshots that we needed. The game is actually a First-Person Shooter, but the spectate mode was very convenient for us.
For the world of CoR (Call of Responsibility), we used actual 3D model textures created by John Susek and Megan Sawyer. We created the sandbags ourselves, then added rocks, grass, blast marks, roads, and other stuff to make the game’s world a little more lively. But for the most part, the world consists of 3D model textures.
The final match between ‘Team 9’ and ‘Spaced Out’ was meant to be as epic as possible. We wanted to capture the essence of a clan match while combining the intensity and suspense of an action movie. The scene turned out okay, but it was a lot longer than we expected.
When we posted the Part 1 article of making 2nd Avenue Episode 2, the focus of the story was in a completely different area. We started out writing about a hot day, but ended with an episode more about a video game clan. We were over half way into the episode’s production before we realized this shift. When David, Darrel, and Boom were still in the episode, the original title made a little more sense.
Planning and preparation truly is everything. Preproduction can save you a lot of time, headaches, miscommunication, uncertainties, doubts, and random changes at the most inconvenient times. Also, knowing how to properly write a script and screenplay comes in handy too. The animation came out pretty good and we were very happy with the overall visuals, but if you know us, then you know that we’re going to push ourselves even further in Episode 3.
We’re very happy to have completed this episode. It was a bumpy ride, and at one point we nearly gave up on the episode entirely, but we stuck to it and made it through. With what we’ve learned, the next episode should go a little more smoothly and overall be a much better production process.