Campigenus: Video and Interview

Conquest, one word defines the human race. Our unending drive for understanding, domination, and control. The limiting factor experience has shown us is the distance between empires. No matter how strong or wise an empire, time and distance erode the endeavors of men to dust. But what if the underlying world as we know it had another just under the surface? One that unlike its counterpart thrives on entropy and is in constant flux from one state to the other. Just as the law of conservation of energy states: 'once created neither matter nor energy can be destroyed, their forms are simply changed.' From the absence of order and empire comes the ability to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time; CHAOS! To be shadows of the empires; to be the writers of your own destiny, and to change our forms and move unseen. We will instill you with dread and transmute your body to the sands of time!

Campigenus is the product of three months of work recording fights, creating models, recording voice-overs, and editing footage to showcase some of the fleetcomps and tactics used by VoC’s notorious nullsec raiding parties. From heavy armor T3 brawlers, to kiting attack battlecruiser gangs, to Enyo wolfpacks with a tracking disruptor twist, StarConquer212 takes a nice sample of the many options available to modern PvP gangs and demonstrates just how devastating they can be when used properly.

Whenever I see a movie like this, I always think back to the time when I joined my first corp and, within a month or two, set out to remix our existing recruitment video. It was only about five minutes of low-quality FRAPS, but the whole thing took me about a week - 5+ hours a day - of sitting in front of a video editing program and making it cut scenes on queue to the beat. I'm sure the neighbors in my apartment complex still have nightmares when they hear that song.

So with that experience in mind, I thought it would be illuminating do a quick interview with StarConquer212 to see just what kind of effort went into this project, and get a sense of how it all happened.


Abis Cann: You said that this took 3 months and you worked on it every day. What the heck could possibly drive you to do that?

StarConquer212: I'm a little OCD when there's something I wanna do and I wanna do it well. There are a lot of EVE videos out there, and there are some really excellent ones, and there are some really bad ones. But you always remember the really good ones, the outstanding ones, like Rooks and Kings, or...there are other examples. So if you're gonna do something, I've always thought you should do it really well and you should do something that people will remember and be like "man, that was really good and original" or "I would like to watch that again" or "I will link that to people," you know? So if you want to do something original at this point in EVE's history, with how long of a game and how old of a game it is, you really have to put some time into it.

Abis: It's funny you should bring that up, because I was going to ask a question about that later. EVE movies seem to be maturing a little bit - do you think we're headed in that direction? Do you think we can expect more things like Clear Skies and Clarion Call 3?

Star: Absolutely. You gotta look at the people who make these things, if you understand a lot about video editing and the time that goes into it. For example, Clear Skies was made in the Half-Life 2 engine - and excuse me if I speak out of turn and I speak something not actually true about it. But from my understanding of it, it was made in the Half-Life 2 engine, the scripts were written for it, and the time alone to write the dialogue for that was immense, that's huge amounts of time that that guy put forward. Not only that but he made it in the Half-Life engine, so that's huge amounts of effort to load all that, build that, move everything, do the scenes scene by scene by scene. He didn't start with an art department like CCP. The Rooks and Kings videos are really original, probably an industry standard. Lord Maldoror and all those guys did a really wonderful job making those and each one was -

Abis: What do you mean by "industry standard?"

Star: Umm...when you talk to your average EVE player about who makes the best videos, or who's the most elite group in EVE, most people will say Rooks and Kings. Whatever your opinions are on the thing, they do make a really, they have made some really wonderful videos over the years. When I say "industry standard" I mean EVE videos that you would watch.

Abis: Clearly this isn't your first project. Did you go to school for this or are you self-taught?

Star: No, this is my first project, this is self-taught.

Abis: Oh, this is your first project! I figured even if you were self-taught you would have done something before.

Star: Well, I've been playing EVE for a long time, I've made other EVE videos when I was younger, and by that I mean when I was 15 years old. I don't really count those as such, because as a young person, you don't have the mind to sit down and teach yourself something really complicated, like some of this software. To that effect, to a lot, a lot of my learning curve was really benefited by my partner, My Fury, who does these kinds of things professionally. So I was able to cut through a lot of this stuff and be like "Fury, I have an issue, how do I get around this? I wanna do this and I'm working this out." And he'd be like "simple, just do this, this, bam, there you go." There's also a lot of hours reading on the Internet and watching tutorials, there's just tons of information out there. Some of it's really useful, some of it's a little complicated, and some of it's wrong.

Abis: How did you meet your mentor?

Star: In EVE, I've always prided myself on trying to make friends wherever I go. Being a positive person and in outlook I always thought that making a friend is more useful than making an enemy in EVE. Even if you make a friend with even the newest player - and this is something I was taught when I first started playing EVE - was that, if you make a friend in EVE and you teach them and help them, they will come back when they're older and they will help you more than anyone. Fury was a new player that I met, I don't even remember where, but at one point he was actually in a corporation I founded. I made friends with this guy, and after learning more about him and his real life and his exploits, he does this stuff freelance, plus other things. He's quite a talented individual and busy with his time.

Abis: How did you get the idea for the video? How did you decide that you wanted to present three battles with some animation between?

Star: A couple things contributed to that, really. I knew I wanted to make an EVE movie. I think giving something like that to the community is one of the best ways to be remembered, even if I stopped playing EVE or we stopped doing anything, making sure we would be remembered. If you make a good quality product, that people will watch again, you're remembered. Regardless of things. That's your testament to the EVE community, your gift to the EVE community.

As far as the way they were determined, I wanted to try to showcase that VoC has a lot of different varieties in the things it can do. We don't always just do signature fleets, we don't only do, like triage battleship stuff, we don't only do T3s. We can do nano really well and then we'll do creative small gang stuff as well, small to mid-size gangs that can take on large numbers.

Abis: Yeah, I liked your whole Enyo fleet idea with the tracking disruptors.

Star: I was actually really worried that people wouldn't like the Enyo fleet, but it seems to be a fan favorite, from what I gathered, and that really made me happy. As far as the 3D modelling went, I knew to really step apart from other EVE videos, and to be on the same par as other people who have made some really outstanding products, I had to do something above and beyond. So I hadn't seen someone really do the kind of 3D modelling in EVE, like I had seen examples on EVE, there's a couple examples -

Abis: On Reddit you can see it sometimes.

Star: Yeah, but not to that extent.

Abis: Right.

Star: For example, to get the EVE models and those spin-arounds? You have to try to export it from the client or you can pull it from Python, through Python. Then you take that model and you break it down, you break the mesh down, because when you put it into a 3D model it's actually quite blocky. You need to break it down further, give it more curves, more grooves. Then you need to change the lighting and the texturing and you'll actually see more detail on the model than the EVE client will ever allow you to because you're not rendering in real time. So you can really do a lot. Some of the renderings are really horrendous.

Abis: So it's kinda like a trial-and-error after you first bring it into the program?

Star: Kinda. We knew what we wanted to do and...I'm a little bit of a perfectionist, I keep working, I try to work on something until I'm really satisfied with it. Some of those T3 models are about 10 seconds. To save time, we decided to just do all of them for a 10 second spin and not stretch the actual stuff. It took about 8 to 5 hours to render each of those 10 second little spinnings, to give you an idea. In real time it took 10 hours on a really high-powered processing system to render that up, so for 10 seconds.

Abis: Just the rendering, not even the creation.

Star: Well, the creation's not too hard if you know what you're doing. If you have a basic idea of what you want, how to build it, and just a general enthusiasm for getting it done and working through all the tutorials and things. The water drop falling into the pool and whatnot, that took 36 hours to render out and, like, 3 or 4 tries to get right before we were satisfied with it. The ending wormhole, the T3 flying through the wormhole, took literally 2 days to render out. So you can see how it adds up really quickly.

Straight outta J115405, I'm a wormhole resident and director in Hard Knocks Inc. When not writing about wormhole PvP and events in the greater w-space community, I enjoy jokes about Kazakhstan and the occasional glass of delicious tears.